Preventing Disasters from the Very Beginning, We Can Also Do It

The crackling sound came over constantly and it hailed. Huanhuan sit by the window and looked at hail mercilessly drop down, in her black eyes there was no trace of panic but only concerns. Huanhuan lived in a small village, where hail would visit in June and July every year, either rudely or moderately, and she has been used to it. “When it hailed moderately, loss would be less, but a big hail disaster would destroy walnut and corn in the entire village so that people got no harvest of them. After the hail, it might be the time of rainstorm and flood, all these disasters have made our poor families even worse and the harvest of the year was gone.”Huanhuan said sadly.

Huanhuan, 17 years old, lived together with her 12-year old brother and grandparents and her parents took migrant work all the year round. Due to the natural environment and climate conditions, Huanhuan’s village was frequently affected by natural disasters, such as, hail, flood and landslides.  

World Vision has launched disaster prevention and reduction program in the community. With the program, a child group was established in the village and Huanhuan was a member of it. When making design of community project activities, everyone talked about their thoughts and Huanhuan said, “I just want fewer disasters in the village and less loss of crops.” However, which measures could be taken to prevent disasters from the very beginning?

Huanhuan joined with other kids to look for places that are most prone to disasters and most dangerous in the community and school. Led by teachers and World Vision staff, they developed disaster preparedness plans for the community and school and carried out an evacuation drill. After the drill, children expressed their feelings, “I know how to escape when the earthquake happens”, “When landslide comes, we shall run towards the two sides of its vertical direction but not in the same direction of it”, and “I have commanded the use of a fire extinguisher”.

World Vision has also constructed an emergency evacuation square in the community in cooperation with the Village Committee and Township government. In peacetime, children can play safely in the square, and in emergency time, people know they should come here and will not run blindly.

Upstream the village there is a river, which often caused flood due to heavy rains. After learning about the situation, World Vision constructed a drainage channel in the village. With this channel, the flood damage to crops and village would be greatly reduced.

When talking about the changes in the village, Huanhuan rushed to say, “Now in our village we have a disaster emergency rescue group consisting of strong young adults and a complete disaster warning system, when disaster occurs, they will be dispatched to help those who need help. After learning escape methods and disaster relief knowledge, we children can also protect ourselves when disaster happens. To hail disaster, we have countermeasures as well, once the hail cloud is formed, our hail prevention group will break the cloud and there will be no hail then.”

(Written by Lan Xugang)