Making young minds resilient to disasters

The new norm: Japanese experts warn of more rain, raging rivers and submerged homes

The Week That Was in Asia Photo Gallery
Residents walk along a mud-covered road in a neighborhood in Nagano Prefecture that was devastated by Typhoon Hagibis on Oct. 15. | AP

With torrential rain, raging rivers and submerged homes, the havoc wrought by Typhoon Hagibis was a grim reminder that extreme weather may now be the new norm in this disaster-prone nation.

It was only last month that compact Typhoon Faxai nailed the Kanto region, blowing off roofs and triggering massive blackouts in Chiba Prefecture. But the damage from giant Hagibis — which had morphed into the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane before weakening upon approach — was a double whammy for areas struggling to get back on their feet and a wake-up call on how centralized disaster planning seems to be failing Japan…


Making young minds resilient to disasters

As a pediatrician and a parent, I often think about what I’d do to keep my children safe if we were hit by a storm like Hurricane Dorian, which reduced whole towns in the Bahamas to rubble. Or by a wildfire, like the Camp Fire that burned the town of Paradise, California to the ground. Or how we’d deal with this year’s record-breaking rains that flooded scores of towns throughout the Mississippi River Basin.

Disasters like these — which may be getting more dangerous with climate change — can directly harm a child’s body. But what’s less well appreciated is how they can harm our children’s minds, and how these harms can result in poorer health across our children’s lives. Fortunately, we can take actions to build resilience in our children and in our…



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