The headlines were flooded with images of families sheltering in evacuation centres, or fleeing for their lives to the relative safety of local beaches, with nothing but the shirts on their backs. The trauma they were experiencing was palpable and with our own community suffering, there was no way we could simply stand back and watch.
For children and young people, the consequence of trauma like this can change the trajectory of their lives, impacting mental health, education, and employment, in both the short and long term.
For children in rural and remote areas, this comes in addition to the already significant disadvantage they experience, because of where they live.
With our decades of experience caring for children impacted by natural disasters, and helping them to return to their lives, internationally, we knew we had to act. So, UNICEF Australia launched a tailor-made, three stage response with local partners to provide immediate relief and longer-term recovery for families. A critical component across all areas of work has been investing in research to better understand how we help children and young people to recover from the impacts of a natural disaster.
This information has been captured in our recent report After the Disaster: Recovery for Australia’s Children
produced in partnership with our local partners Royal Far West
. The report has found that more needs to be done to support children from disasters and emergencies – before, during and after – in Australia and to protect them against long-term negative impacts.