Children most at risk in a disaster zone

Daniel Toole; 10/2/10 (2 items)

Children suffer the most in humanitarian catastrophes such as the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Not only are children more likely to be killed or injured, if they survive they often have the least access to critical lifesaving aid such as food, clean water and medication. More insidiously children are also then at risk of violence, abduction and abuse amid the chaos that reigns in the aftermath. The criminal charges that have now been laid against a group of American missionaries who allegedly attempted to take a busload of children out of Haiti has put the issue of child trafficking and adoption into the international spotlight. And now a new UNICEF report on emergencies worldwide has highlighted an alarming, global rise in child sex abuse, abductions and violence in countries recovering from war and natural disaster. It is clear that sexual violence against women and children in emergency settings has risen sharply. Haiti is just one of 28 humanitarian “hotspots” where children are suffering, which has been highlighted in UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action Report released last week. The report sets out an emergency response together with a global appeal for $US1.2 billion to fund UNICEF work in these countries over 2010.


Haiti quake death toll rises to 230,000
Port-au prince Haiti’s government raised the death toll for the January 12 quake to 230,000 yesterday, matching the toll from the 2004 Asian tsunami. The grim milestone was announced as a quake-damaged Haitian supermarket collapsed in the capital with several people inside and rescue crews were working to pull them out last night. “There were looters inside the building,” site supervisor Meir Vaknin said. “I was trying to get rid of them and when the building fell,there were some of them inside.” Mr Vaknin estimated five to eight people had been in the supermarket and said at least one was spotted alive inside.