Recent decades have seen a significant global increase in the occurrence of disasters, and Latin America and the Caribbean has been no exception. Today, natural and man-made disasters are considered to be social phenomena due to their impact on people’s lives and the fact that there is scope for preventing and mitigating the damage they cause and thus reducing or at least controlling their effects. Households living in poverty are extremely vulnerable to disasters and are disproportionately exposed to their impacts, which have affected them increasingly and for longer and longer periods. Children are likelier to be poor than the population aged over 18, and therefore suffer more from the consequences of disasters. This constitutes a violation of their rights.
The main article in this newsletter looks in some detail at the social protection given to children when disasters occur. It highlights their particular vulnerability to disasters and the increase in the occurrence of these in recent times, describing the effects this has had on children. The article calls for social protection systems in the region’s countries to be strengthened from a perspective of children’s rights.
As usual, the article is supplemented by the views of some experts and the voices of children affected by an earthquake and tsunami. A number of interesting experiences relating to the link between disasters and the protection of children’s rights in the region are also described. This is the first online version of the Challenges newsletter, and it includes audiovisual resources in addition to information on related publications and events.