Save the Children is expanding its response to major flooding on Australia’s east coast, by setting up Child Friendly Spaces for children in New South Wales evacuation centres.
With hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the extreme weather event, Save the Children is determined to ensure the unique needs of children caught up in the emergency are met.
Save the Children Australia has set up a Child Friendly Space at Canley Vale evacuation centre, in Sydney’s west, and deployed a team to northern New South Wales to work across evacuation centres in the flood-hit region. The agency stands ready to expand its response.
It follows the rapid deployment of staff and resources to establish Child Friendly Spaces in Brisbane and Ipswich, where communities have also been devastated by widespread flooding.
Save the Children Australia Executive Director for Australian Services, Matt Gardiner said:
“Thousands of children are being forced to flee to safety with their families as floodwaters rise in towns and cities up and down the east coast.
“Experiencing a disaster like flooding on this scale, and all the uncertainty that it brings, can be incredibly distressing for a child.
“Our child friendly spaces allow children to leave behind any stress or anxiety, so they can express themselves through play, socialise and simply be kids.
“After a highly stressful two years when communities have already been grappling with COVID-19, floods and bushfires, children who face compounding distress or trauma will likely need ongoing support.
“As the climate crisis causes more frequent and intense weather-related disasters, it is imperative that Australia improves planning for the complex challenges posed by future emergencies.
“These are no longer one-in-100-year events. We urge all Australian governments to step up and deliver meaningful climate solutions before 2030, to safeguard children from disasters before it’s too late.”
Save the Children has a long history of responding to emergencies in Australia, including the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires, Cyclone Trevor in the Northern Territory, the Townsville floods in Far North Queensland and the bushfires of the Huon Valley in Tasmania.
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