The acute storms in the UK during the winter of 2013/14 and 2015/16 have revealed a problem that is now understood to be chronic: with climate change materialising more forcefully, severe flooding will become part of life for many communities across the UK. Recognising children’s perspectives – and capacities – will be a vital part of the process of building the necessary community resilience.
A new report by researchers from Lancaster University and Save the Children explores the role that children and young people can – and want – to play in recovery and preparation. Drawing on qualitative research into children’s and young people’s experiences of the UK winter 2013/14 floods, the study finds that kids need to be better integrated into information processes “during and after flooding as they have a right to know how to prepare, what to expect and how they can contribute”. Children and young people are citizens in their own right, the report argues, and their perspectives are valuable for policy and practice around flood risk management. Flood recovery and resilience should become a priority for government in order to meet the needs of children and young people, recognising their role not as victims but as “active contributors in flood response and recovery”.
The research showed that children help their communities during and after a flood and derive important benefit from this. Their particular perspective often highlight important gaps in the current policy and practice around flood risk management. “Children and young people could inform more effective policy, enhance resilience and reduce the impact of future emergencies”, Marion Walker wrote in an earlier FDSD provocation on resilience, they “have the right to be heard and actively participate in matters that affect them, in particular flood management.”
- The full report can be accessed on the University of Lancaster website.
- Read our FDSD provocation from early 2016: Lori Peek on “Children, youth and disasters: Listening, learning, and moving towards democratic engagement”
- Marion Walker, co-author of the described report, produced a provocation for us in early 2016: “Flooding and resilience: the important role children and young people can play”