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Published on May 10, 2009
Since the 1998 Hurricane Mitch, El Salvador was hit by earthquakes in 2001, Hurricane Stan in 2005, and by many other tropical storms during its annual hurricane season. There are Efforts to build resilience to face the many hazards facing the country, include addressing its environmental problems of deforestation and pollution.
Children have become key agents for reducing disaster risks and impacts. In many communities children's emergency committees or "brigades" have been set up. They undertake risk and hazard mapping exercises, initiate mitigation activities and mobilise to respond when hazards threaten to become disasters. These youth brigades are also active in a wide range of environmental protection campaigns such as rubbish collection, reforestation and water source protection. But it is particularly rubbish in the form of plastic waste which is one of the biggest environmental hazards. It gets thrown into the dried up rivers and when the rains come, rubbish plugs up the rivers causing floods and disease.
The documentary shows how children have devised campaigns of direct action with very positive effects on the environment, their families, and their communities. We hear from Monica a child-leader in the Emergency Committee of Las Granadillas in La Libertad, and from Mauricio, a student leader at the high-school in Potonico which undertakes monthly community cleaning campaigns. Rachel from Los Hernandes primary school tells how she teaches younger pupils about risk management and health and hygiene.