Online Game Involves Children in Disaster Response

LONDON – An online game that teaches children how to react when disaster strikes has been launched by the U.K.-based charity agency Christian Aid.

Disaster Watch, available at, shows kids how to limit damage to a local community when there is a disaster.

The game is introduced by the character Felipe, a member of the “Global Gang” from Nicaragua, who guides players through the different disasters his virtual community may face – food shortages, earthquakes and floods.

The challenges in the game have to be overcome in three steps. After each level, players get a score subtotal and a bonus for fast work. At the end of the game, players can add their final score to a top 10 players' league. They are also invited to read real-life stories featuring children from poor countries who have survived disasters or are involved in Christian Aid-funded projects that help them prepare for disasters and reducing their impact.

Global Gang Editor Sophie Shirt says: '”News reports often present those affected by disaster as helpless victims. What Disaster Watch aims to teach children is that preventative measures can limit the impact of a disaster on poor communities. It also challenges stereotypes and shows that poor communities can be struck by food shortages and flood, as well as disasters like earthquakes, within a short space of time.

“The stories and information following the game start to make connections between climate change and the increase in 'natural' disasters. Ultimately we want children in the U.K. and Ireland to realize that poor people are suffering as a result of the hefty contribution we are making to climate change, and to do something about it.”

Visitors to Christian Aid's global eco-house at this year's Grand Designs Show (Oct. 6-8) in Birmingham were able to play the game while discovering how people from around the world are preparing for disasters and the effects of climate change.

The eco-house features homes from the U.K., Honduras, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Kenya, inspiring people to adopt eco-friendly lifestyles and curb their carbon emissions. is full of stories and web clips of children's lives all over the world. The site also offers homework help, real-life stories and educational and entertaining games.