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Dec/Jan 2010Vol. 10, No. 10Report Identifies Shortcomings in Disaster Preparedness

A new report presents preliminary findings from a comprehensive study assessing the needs of children when preparing for, responding to, and recovering from major disasters and emergencies. The report, National Commission on Children and Disasters Interim Report, identifies several shortcomings in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.

The study finds that among so many competing concerns, children are given less attention than necessary when disaster plans are written and exercised, equipment and supplies are purchased, and disaster response and recovery efforts are activated. In fact, State and local emergency managers are required by Federal law to meet the needs of pets in their disaster plans but not the needs of children.

This report provides specific recommendations addressing the following issues:

  • Disaster management and recovery
  • Mental health
  • Child physical health and trauma
  • Emergency medical services and pediatric transport
  • Disaster case management
  • Child care
  • Elementary and secondary education
  • Child welfare and juvenile justice
  • Sheltering standards, services, and supplies
  • Housing
  • Evacuation

The National Commission on Children and Disasters was created by Congress in 2007 as a bipartisan group consisting of 10 members appointed by the President and congressional leaders. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families provides financial and administrative support to the Commission.

The report is available for download: