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Education in Emergencies and Disaster Risk Management Unit

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Education in Emergencies and Disaster Risk Management Unit

The widespread loss of life, property, infrastructure and environment caused by a natural or manmade disaster severely disturbs the functioning of the communities it affects. Education has been recognized as a proven way to protect society in times of such crisis: it offers safe spaces for learning and makes it possible to identify and support seriously affected individuals, particularly the most vulnerable i.e. children. Going to school can help children recuperate from the suffering and loss, through reception of communal support, as well as through reception of practical information on basic hygiene and health care. Attending school can also reduce the chance that a child is sexually or economically exploited or exposed to other similar risks. Education in emergencies is even more important for girls as they are more vulnerable to exploitation and violence.

Education is often overlooked, even sacrificed in times of emergencies. Efforts to reactivate the education sector during or after a crisis are often missing. During natural disasters schools are used as shelters for displaced families, during civil unrest schools are closed for the fear of safety of children and teachers. High level and long term social risks are involved in disruption of education during a crisis situation. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that education is a right for everyone everywhere.

In line with the Hyogo Framework for Action; that promotes "the integration of disaster risk reduction as an intrinsic element of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development," the component projects of EEDRMU work towards continuation of educational services during and after times of crisis as well as develop the preparedness of local stakeholder groups towards disaster prevention, and recognition.

Aimed at preservation and revival of educational services and facilities, including all forms of preventive activities, mitigation and preparedness to counter the adverse effects of hazards and crisis situations on Education, the 'Education in Emergencies and Disaster Risk Management Unit ' was set up with the dual objective of:

i) Pre-disaster efforts: Contributing towards the reduction of vulnerabilities, loss of human lives, and economic and environmental damages caused by the disaster through information and education of disaster preparedness.
ii) Post disaster efforts: Ensuring swift access to quality education by disaster affected populations, through rehabilitation and reconstruction of educational services and infrastructure.

'Disaster risk management' is the systematic process of administrative decisions, organization, operational skills and capacities to implement policies, strategies and enhancing capacity of the society and community to pre-emptively lower the impact of a possible crisis or emergency situations.