Tens of thousands of children in Australia have been affected by bushfires. The scale of the devastation is unprecedented. More than 6 million hectares, almost one percent of the Australian land mass, have been affected with the fires destroying everything in their path, including whole communities.
Experiencing a disaster of this nature can have a harrowing long-term impact on a person’s emotional wellbeing, especially if the right support is not provided. In providing Child Friendly Spaces, Save the Children is providing children with vital support and psychological first aid.
Since November 2019, Save the Children has established six Child Friendly Spaces in evacuation centres accessible by road or plane in Australia. The charity is currently running two Child Friendly Spaces in evacuation centres in Bairnsdale and Albury, with a third opening in Morwell, providing children with a safe place to socialise, play and simply be children again.
In the longer-term, Save the Children’s response will focus on supporting children’s emotional recovery, ensuring children receive specialist psychosocial support in the weeks and months after the fires have passed to avoid long-term distress. This is likely to include running a range of activities for children to help them process and express their emotions, deal with the issues they are facing and develop coping mechanisms for the future.
Castle Water’s partnership with Save the Children helps make this vital work possible. Since joining forces in August 2017, we have raised significant funds for the Emergency Fund through generous corporate, employee and customer donations.
Every year, conflict and natural disasters threaten millions of children’s lives and futures – and those threats are mounting. Right now, one in five children worldwide is living in a conflict zone with children are on the frontline. Meanwhile, the number of natural disasters has doubled over the past 20 years, as the effects of climate change begin to bite. More children than ever before are being impacted by catastrophic weather events like typhoons, drought, fire and floods.
Save the Children’s Emergency Fund exists to meet this mounting challenge, enabling a response as soon as disaster strikes ensuring teams are on the ground delivering life-saving supplies wherever the need is greatest. The Emergency Fund also provides support for the long haul, helping communities get back on their feet and ensuring they can be better prepared for a future emergency.
If you would like to help more children caught up in emergencies, you can donate to Save the Children’s Emergency Fund here. You can also donate directly to Save the Children’s Australia Bush Fire’s Emergency Appeal here.