Listening to children to improve the humanitarian response to earthquakes

Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters such as earthquakes. They risk being hit by falling stuff; they are vulnerable to malnourishment and disease caused by the interruption of supply food chains and the drinking of contaminated water.

A group of CAD’s consultants travelled to two of the worst-hit places, Juchitán (Oaxaca) and Jojutla (Morelos) to understand the main effects of the disasters on children and adolescents and the most pressing issues from a human rights perspective.

Concerned by the effects the earthquake can have on children on the medium and long run, UNICEF hired CAD’s consultants to develop a comparative case study.

This research will generate evidence and recommendations to guide UNICEF’s advocacy efforts with the government and other relevant stakeholders, as well as their own humanitarian response actions.

Mexico is situated in the region with the greatest seismic activity in the whole planet and was recently hit by two earthquakes of Richter scales 8.1 and 7.1 on the 7th and 19th of September 2017 respectively.

This type of disaster can also trigger psychological problems both as a consequence of the event and due to its sequels, such as stress in their families and suffering for their lost relatives and properties.

In the long run, disasters like these can cause an effect on school attainment and family income, pushing children out of school and into the labour market to help raise income in their families.


Main photo: Children from Juchitán in one of the workshops. Luis F. Cervantes.