An earthquake can be a devastating event, causing immense upheaval and distress for families and communities. In these challenging times, it is crucial to prioritize the safety and well-being of children and youth. This guide provides practical advice and essential information to help parents, caregivers, and young individuals navigate the aftermath of an earthquake in Herat province, Afghanistan.
By following these guides, you can work together to protect our children and promote their emotional and physical well-being during this difficult period.
1. Child Protection Measures
1.1 Stay Informed and Communicate
During the aftermath of an earthquake, it is crucial to stay informed about potential risks and communicate effectively with your family. Inform them of your whereabouts when leaving your current location and provide an estimated time of return. Stay updated on the latest information about aftershocks, falling debris, and damaged buildings to minimize risks. Avoid entering damaged structures, bridges, and overpasses, as they may collapse during further seismic activity. If you need to travel away from your current location, make sure to inform your family about the route you will be using for safety reasons.
1.2 Stay Together and Have a Plan
In times of recovery, it is important to stay together as a family and have a plan in place. Always stay with a family member, friend, or designated buddy to ensure your safety and support one another. Create a plan with caregivers on what to do if you or your child become lost or separated from each other. In case of separation, stay calm and try to remember the last time and place you saw your parents. Find someone you trust and let them know you have been separated from your family. Additionally, agree on a safe meeting place and designate someone to contact if you are separated from your caregivers to facilitate a reunion.
2. Child and Family Safety
2.1 Beware of Strangers and Exploitation
In the aftermath of an earthquake, it is essential to be cautious of strangers who may approach you or your children. Be wary of individuals offering education, employment, or marriage opportunities, as their intentions may not be genuine. If you feel unsafe or suspect exploitation, inform someone you trust immediately. It is important to keep your children with you whenever it is safe to do so and make plans with them for potential separation scenarios, ensuring they understand what to do in such situations.
2.2 Emergency Preparedness
Stay informed through local news, radio, or official sources for updates on the situation, evacuation instructions, and emergency contacts. Agree on a safe meeting place with your family and ensure your children understand the plan. Create identification cards or wristbands for your children, including their names, parents' names, destination, and contact numbers. Carry recent photos of your children and provide them with a recent photo of yourself and copies of their identification documents. These measures will assist in reuniting your family if you happen to be separated during the recovery phase.
3. Mental Health and Psychosocial Support
3.1 Encourage Positive Activities
Engaging children and youth in positive activities can help distract them from stress and anxiety. Encourage them to participate in activities such as volunteering, drawing, sports, or helping family members and others. These activities provide a sense of purpose, normalcy, and can be a source of enjoyment during challenging times.
3.2 Emotional Support
Dedicate time for family discussions and meals together, allowing space for open communication about the distress experienced. Returning to everyday routines can help restore a sense of normalcy and security. Provide reassurance, affection, and extra attention to children who may be displaying challenging behaviors as a result of the earthquake's impact. Encourage children and younger family members to stay connected with friends and loved ones, even if it is through virtual means, as social support plays a vital role in coping and providing strength during difficult times.
During the aftermath of an earthquake, safeguarding the well-being of children is of paramount importance. By following the guidelines outlined in this guide, families in Herat province can take vital steps to protect their children, ensure their safety, and promote their emotional resilience. Remember, you are all in this together, and by prioritizing child protection and supporting one another, you can rebuild and recover from the impact of the earthquake.
For coping with stress resulting from the earthquake, seek support from the Health Cluster and Protection Cluster, which provide Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support (MHPSS) through local partners. Additionally, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) facilitates coordination among various clusters and their interventions, addressing different causes of stress, including shelter and food-related issues.
Ask for help from "Beporsed"
For those Afghans seeking specific information, "Beporsed" is here to help. You can reach our information center through WhatsApp (+93729807235), Facebook Messenger, or our website's Messenger to ask our online information desk officer for assistance.
For more information
For more information on immigration, resettlement, education and scholarship programs, and other opportunities available to Afghans worldwide, as well as details on the humanitarian services provided by international organizations in Afghanistan and procedures for obtaining civil documents from governmental institutions, please visit Beporsed's website and social media pages.