The Mr Radar comic, which teaches children about the importance of risk reduction has been a big hit. Photo: Plan UK.
By Kate Roux in Thailand
Floods are not unique for Thailand. But in 2011, the floods were considered some of the worst in the country’s history. One year later, the Thai Red Cross is helping build the resilience of communities to manage future floods - as well as other potential disasters - through a comic book called ‘Disaster Warning by Mr. Radar’.
Over 500,000 copies of the 45-page book are being distributed by Thai Red Cross to school children across the country. It provides knowledge about the potential hazards a family could face during disasters, such as flash floods and earthquakes. It also teaches children how to prepare before a crisis strikes and how to take action in response.
“How do you know if there is going to be a landslide? What should you do if there is a flood?” asks Mr. Radar.
The goal is to reach approximately 300 schools in 20 provinces that were affected by last year’s floods. The government estimates that over 2,000 schools were damaged, and approximately 2 million children were affected by the disaster in 2011.
“Raising awareness among school children in disaster prone areas helps build the capacity of communities to respond to disasters”, says Indira Kulenovic, Unit Manager of the Regional Community Safety and Resilience Unit at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) South-East Asia regional office, who coordinated the project with Thai Red Cross.
Initially developed by the American Red Cross under the Tsunami Recovery Programme, the comic book was later adapted and distributed by Thai Red Cross and the IFRC with the support of Hong Kong Red Cross.
An additional 50,000 copies are now being produced in English, in order to share with other National Societies in South-East Asia such as Viet Nam and Lao societies.
“Kids love the book,” Indira says. “And we know they will share the information with their families, so in the end, it is a great learning tool for the entire community.”