Limiting and planning for schools as temporary evacuation centres in emergencies
This guidance is intended to support education authorities and disaster management officers to make decisions and allocate resources to meet shelter needs of the population, to protect children’s rights to safety and wellbeing, educational continuity, and to protect education sector investments.
Over the past decades in the Pacific, schools have been used by students, families and internally displaced people as unplanned and sometimes long-term shelters during disasters, by students, families and internally displaced people. They have also been occupied by fighting forces during conflict.
These conditions have disrupted education, caused damage to educational facilities and equipment, and put children at risk of abuse, neglect and exploitation. This has given rise to calls from policy makers and field practitioners for guidance.
Given the importance of education in times of crisis, it is unacceptable for schools to be used as long-term shelters or occupied by fighting forces for any amount of time. Moreover, if a school has not been explicitly designed and prepared as an evacuation centre or damage to a school puts the sheltering population at risk, then schools should not be used as an evacuation centre. However, where schools are safe, they can offer an adequate temporary solution if specific conditions are met in advance.