World needs a legally binding model to care for disaster-affected children
An infant or child is more vulnerable than an adult in disasters, and yet responses to protect them are voluntary, write Wilmot James and Stephen Nicholas
Children are the face of disaster relief. And yet disaster and post-disaster reconstruction plans the world over rarely acknowledge or provide for children. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have well-worked-out guidelines for the domestic facilitation and regulation of international disaster relief and initial recovery assistance but these are nonbinding and not legally enforceable measures by which countries can be held accountable. It is an area of great concern and in need of an urgent remedy. Children are more vulnerable than adults in disasters. Because they are different anatomically, physiologically, immunologically, developmentally and psychologically, children require specialised care. Many well-defined aspects of paediatric care differ markedly from those of adults. Children need different dosages, medicinal formulations, sizes of medical and personal protective equipment, and age-and size-adjusted fluid and nutrition management. In health security em...