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When disaster strikes, we’re there working alongside our partners to help children in need.

Bushfires, droughts and floods are etched in Australian folklore, but in recent times, these natural disasters are occurring more frequently and with greater intensity, placing many Australian communities under significant pressure. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis only compounded existing stress and disadvantage, but children and families are resilient. 

Here at UNICEF Australia, we place children at the centre of our response. When disaster strikes, we work with our partners to make sure that children and young people can continue their education and have access to the services they need to thrive.

Drawing from children with messages about what they felt during the fires.Supplied

Vivid descriptions, forever in children's minds

"Children gave vivid descriptions of the sounds, sights and smells of falling trees, the raging wind, the dark sky in the middle of the day, the gas bottle explosions, the sirens, the shouts and screams from adults and children, the helicopters, the flames and raising embers, windows shattering, cars crashing." 

Feedback from preschool children attending the Stormbirds therapy groups.

How is UNICEF helping Australian children during crisis and emergencies? 

With decades of experience responding to emergencies across the globe, we are well equipped to support multifaceted program responses with key partner organisations that not only address the ongoing effects of climate change emergencies in communities, but also focuses on building healthier, empowered and resilient communities for the future.

We’re continuously working with our partners, young people, communities and all levels of Government to deliver responses that will:

Empower young people and ensure that they are heard

Contributing to rehabilitation efforts by convening appropriate forums to ensure children’s voices shape future responses

Deliver systemic and lasting change so we are better prepared next time

Strengthening disaster frameworks to focus on the unique needs of children, where agencies and expert providers are ready for a rapid community-led response.

Help children recover through mental health support

Supporting recovery by working in partnership with community organisations to provide access to customised support for affected children and their families.

"We're seeing the growing impact of climate change disasters on communities in Australia through droughts, bushfires, and flooding. That’s why it’s critical for UNICEF Australia to ensure that children’s needs are being prioritised and addressed throughout any response and recovery process, as well as looking forward to ensuring we’re better prepared for disasters in future."

Toni Bennett
Head of Domestic Programs and Partnerships, UNICEF Australia
Podcast cover - Disaster talks © UNICEF Australia

Disaster Talks

Australian National University Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network (ACATLGN) and UNICEF Australia are collaborating on a podcast titled Disaster Talks, about supporting and building the resilience of school communities in Australia to prepare and respond to a natural disaster. The series will share learnings, best practice and be a valuable resource for educators. It aims to shed light on the unique needs and rights of children in disasters and emergencies, before, during and after. 

How you can help us make a difference

For all Australia's children

From remote towns to city centres, the rights and wellbeing of Australia’s most vulnerable children and young people are being impacted by poverty, mental health, homelessness, violence, climate-driven disasters, and for some, lack of access to quality education and health care.

A First Nations child lying on a blanket and smiling at the camera
© Moriarty Foundation

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