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Lancaster University,Save the Children
Children are known to be acutely affected during and after floods, losing their homes, friendship networks and familiar surroundings. They also see adults under great strain and witness the exceptional and long-term tensions that flooding brings about. Research also shows that children play a major role in recovery work, yet disaster and emergency plans still largely view children as victims and as a homogenous ‘vulnerable’ group, thus ignoring and disenfranchising them. Recognising children’s perspectives and capacities is a vital part of the process of building community resilience. A better understanding of how flooding, and other disasters, affect children and thus how to build their insights into recovery practices can inform more effective policy, enhance resilience and reduce the impact of future emergencies.
Save the Children and Lancaster University explored children’s and young people’s experiences of the UK winter 2013/14 floods and worked with them to develop ways of improving policy and practice to provide better support and enhance resilience.
The children recommended improvements in essentially three flood policy and practice domains – recovery, resilience and education. In order to implement what are in effect urgent demands by the children, a fundamental shift is required in the way policy is conceived.