Bringing Children into Focus on the Social Science Disaster Research Agenda

November 2005 (VOL. 23, NO. 3)

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Significant progress has been made in the social science disaster research field since its inception several decades ago. Despite the advances in knowledge, important areas of research have been seriously understudied, including the impact of hazards and disasters on children and youths. In this paper, it is argued that such knowledge is needed to deepen our understanding of the impacts of disasters on society and to provide a firmer basis for disaster management policy and practice. It is suggested that children should be brought into clearer focus in the disaster research field through studies, particularly those of a comparative nature, that consider (1) children’s vulnerability and the outcomes they experience because of their youth, (2) actions taken by the adult society to reduce the vulnerability of children, and (3) actions children and youths undertake for themselves and others to reduce disaster impacts.