This Saturday is the 10 year anniversary of the most deadly natural disaster in the United States. Save the Children has been working with the children affected by Hurricane Katrina for the last decade. After Hurricane Katrina, 5000 children were reported missing. It took weeks, and even months, to reunited these children with their parents. After Katrina, The National Commission on Children and Disasters made recommendations on keeping America’s children safe during a disaster. Ten years later, 79% of these recommendations have yet to be addressed.
Below, is a video of a mom who was separated from her toddler during Katrina. She recommends that parents make emergency contact cards to keep kids safe during a disaster or emergency. You can download your own emergency contact cards here.
- It took 7 months for the last child to be reunited with her parents after Katrina
- Out of every $10 in federal emergency grants, less than 1 cent has gone toward activities to keep children safe in a disaster
- 69 million children are separated from their parents every work day
- 18 states and D.C. do not require schools and child care providers to have basic emergency plans
While Katrina was an extreme case, even a small emergency or disaster, can put children at risk. I highly encourage you to create your own contact card and keep it with you at all times.
A decade after the nation’s Katrina wake-up call, it’s unacceptable that children across the country still face unnecessary risks to their safety, health, emotional wellbeing and long-term development should disaster strike. We know children’s unique needs make them especially vulnerable during and after emergencies. Our nation’s children deserve better without further delay. ~ Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children
Hear what it was like from those who were children during Katrina and the Oklahoma tornado:
So, I ask you… why hasn’t the United States done more to take care of children during emergencies and disasters? It’s been 10 years since the National Commission on Children and Disasters have made their recommendations.
Very few children died in Hurricane Katrina, but have you ever considered the turmoil caused by this devastating disaster? Children growing up without their parents. Emotional and physical scars from surviving the disaster. Children being separated from their parents for days, weeks, and months. Schools and child care centers destroyed.
George W. Bush and Congress created the National Commission on Children and Disasters to investigate areas that were lacking in regards to children’s safety and well-being during and after a disaster or emergency. They were also to provide recommendations to narrow these gaps and to keep our children safe during these circumstances. In 2010, the Commission issued a final report with 81 recommendations in 11 categories that ensure the unique needs of children are met during emergencies and disasters. Of these 81 recommendations, only 17 have been fully met, 44 are a work in progress, and 20 have yet to be addressed.
It’s been 10 years since the United States’ most deadly natural disaster in history. When will these recommendations be put in place to keep our children safe?
As a parent, this is ludicrous. Our leaders need to take a close, hard look at the children in this country and their safety during disasters and emergencies. These recommendations need to be addressed before the next disaster strikes.
To help keep your children safe, I encourage you to fill out and print an emergency contact card. Also, check out this checklist by Save the Children that provides tips on keeping your family safe during a disaster or emergency. Other checklists are available here that cover specific emergencies. Learn what to do to assist children during an emergency or disaster by taking these video courses.
I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.
Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.
All information used with permission.