Safe Schools and Hospitals
Forming a core part of the Making Cities Resilient campaign, the urgent need to disaster-proof public services and infrastructure such as schools and hospitals is evident when earthquakes, typhoons and cyclones destroy thousands of these essential facilities globally.
This priority was highlighted at the 2013 Global Platform and in the High Level Dialogue’s call for “a global safe schools and safe health structures campaign in disaster-prone areas."
The Pakistan earthquake in October 2005, destroyed more than 7,500 schools. An estimated 17,000 children died as their schools fell in upon them. Many hospitals were also destroyed. and – because it was during Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting – many people were taking a nap after a pre-dawn meal,and had no warning. Similarly, earthquakes in Haiti, Nepal and China have cost lives and wrought considerable damage on schools and health facilities.
The High-Level Dialogue – setting the agenda
Chaired by the UN Deputy Secretary-General, the 2013 Global Platform High-Level Dialogue included 34 Government Ministers, business leaders and senior scientists and programme directors agreed on the major issues around disaster risk reduction. They stressed the “no regrets” nature of investing in disaster risk reduction, while warning that poor land use planning and regulation, and a rise in the severity of weather-related disasters, keeps increasing disaster risks. Vital infrastructure, they noted, was still being built in vulnerable areas that are prone to flooding or landslides.
The number of schools and hospitals being destroyed or damaged during disasters was unacceptably high, they said, and this underlined the need to retrofit and design new, safe facilities. The High-Level Dialogue called for a global safe schools and safe health structures campaign in disaster-prone areas with voluntary commitments to be announced at the Third UN World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan in 2015.
Participants also stressed the need to prevent disaster-related business and supply chain disruptions, and commodity price fluctuations. They urged countries to develop national standards for hazard risk assessments, especially of critical infrastructure, and to strengthen collaboration between the public and private sectors around risk management at local and national levels.
The One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals initiative is a global advocacy effort to make schools and hospitals safe from disasters.
The One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals initiative encourages people, organizations, companies and governments to pledge to make a school or hospital safe and resilient to disasters. When schools are damaged, learning opportunities are disrupted, and the quality of education drops. When hospitals and health facilities are destroyed, the treatment of the sick is hampered and saving of victims during a catastrophe becomes difficult.
People in unsafe schools, hospitals and health facilities are at the greatest risk of losing their lives when a disaster strikes.
Children in schools and the sick in hospitals and health facilities are the most vulnerable people in times of disaster.
Pledge to make your schools and hospitals safe from disasters.
Visit the One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals initiative website
UNISDR in collaboration with WHO, UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank, ADB and other partners aim to raise public awareness and create a demand for safe schools, hospitals and health facilities. The objectives of the initiative are to protect the lives of school children and the sick by ensuring that proper safety measures are installed, to ensure the continuity of hospital functions in treating the sick and safe school zones, to improve the risk reduction capacity of all school and hospital stakeholders.
Worldwide Initiative on Safe Schools
The Worldwide Initiative on Safe Schools will benefit from the strong momentum created already. More information about the WISS here.