Natural disasters take toll on schools and children around Asian region

Thomson Reuters Foundation

A greater humanitarian focus on schools before, during and after natural disasters will save lives, protect children and benefit communities and countries, Save the Children says in a report due out this week.

The report details the impact on education of earthquakes, floods and storms that struck Nepal, Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vanuatu last year.

Researchers estimate the lives of 200 million children per year will be severely disrupted by disasters in coming decades.

Here are some facts and figures from the Save the Children’s report.

Indonesia

Between January and August 2015, Indonesia experienced 1,160 disasters, including drought, forest fires, volcanic eruptions, landslides and floods.

Also during that period, there were cases of 373 flooding, affecting 607,000 people, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Rains in January 2015 submerged roads in Jakarta, and more downpours in February caused further flooding, affecting more than 27,000 people.

The floods affected 351 schools in northern Jakarta. Inaccessible and submerged, some were closed for up to two weeks.

Vanuatu

The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu is home to about 250,000 people, with 64 percent of the population exposed to natural hazards each year, including storms, floods, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

Cyclone Pam, a Category 5 storm in March 2015, triggered floods that destroyed infrastructure, homes and livelihoods, affecting 80 percent of Vanuatu’s people and leaving half the population in need of emergency assistance.

More than half of schools were damaged or destroyed, and 34,500 children were affected.

Schools were closed for up to 30 days, and 34 schools were used as evacuation centers.

Nepal

A magnitude-7.8 earthquake on April 25, 2015, followed by a magnitude-7.3 quake on May 12, 2015, killed 8,900 people, destroyed 605,000 homes and damaged 288,000 more.

About 3.2 million children were affected by the quakes. Of those, 870,000 were left without permanent classrooms.

More than 8,200 public primary and secondary schools were damaged in the quakes.

Nearly 52,200 classrooms were damaged or destroyed.

Myanmar

In June 2015, seasonal rains triggered heavy flooding in parts of Myanmar.

At the end of July, Cyclone Komen brought heavy rains and strong winds, resulting in severe, widespread flooding that affected more than 9 million people across 12 of the country’s 14 states and regions.

From June to October, the floods displaced about 1.7 million people and damaged 4,116 schools.

About 250,000 children could not attend school because of the floods.

Philippines

In 2015, 14 typhoons and tropical storms hit the Philippines.

Between 2007 and 2011, 10.8 million students in the Philippines were impacted by disasters, and 8,472 schools were used as evacuation centers.

Typhoon Koppu, a Category 3 storm in mid-October, hit areas north of Manila, on the island of Luzon, causing widespread floods and landslides.

The typhoon displaced 1 million people and damaged 803 schools, which were closed an average of two weeks, while 138 schools were used as evacuation centers.