Children who become separated from their loved ones during and following a disaster are at an increased risk of trauma. Coping with anxiety and stress are much more difficult in the absence of those who know the child’s individual needs. Children separated from their parents or legal guardians are more vulnerable to maltreatment, abuse, abduction, and sexual exploitation.
In 2005, during Hurricane Katrina, our organization handled 34,045 calls, and helped resolve the 5,192 missing children cases reported to NCMEC. Because of these efforts, Congress later mandated the establishment of the National Emergency Child Locator Center (NECLC), which NCMEC operates during Presidentially declared disasters at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The National Center has resources to help families and communities prepare for disasters. Involving children in preparing for an emergency will help them feel safer before, during, and after a disaster.