What is the role of child helplines in emergencies?

Child Helplines in the United States and in Bangladesh respond devastating floods

We have all been horrified by accounts of victims and witnesses to the recent hurricanes in the United States and the Caribbean, and by the terrible floods in South Asia.  Our hearts go out to everyone affected.

Child Helpline International members have stepped up to help children and young people however they can.  Here is what we’ve heard from them:



2nd Floor USA

“2NDFLOOR has received calls from  kids experiencing anxiety about what they are seeing on the news from Texas after surviving Hurricane Sandy here in New Jersey in 2012.”


Crisis Text Line USA

“We are also seeing a large number of contacts related to the disaster and the trauma it has caused.”


USA Polaris Project USA

“Polaris has received some calls related to the hurricane, and we are doing our best to support our partners working on the ground in Texas.”

We ended up handling 12 calls in 25 minutes

National Runaway Safeline USA

“We have received quite a number of calls/chats from the Houston, east Texas, and west Louisiana areas impacted by Harvey. The storm has greatly impacted the Houston, Galveston, based runaway/homeless youth programs, as well as the Beaumont program in west Louisiana. The storm has basically stopped all east Texas area runaway and homeless youth from accessing our Home Free family reunification program, since even the Greyhound Bus system has been idled in that area of the state. As you can guess, the affected runaway and homeless youth programs are in great need of firm shelter, and basic supplies, such as food, and water. Various governmental organizations are responding as best they can.

The storm also put down a ton of rain further east of Houston into the San Antonio/Austin area. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) is located in Austin. We have a long standing reciprocal service continuity plan in place with NDVH, with automated systems in place with annual cross training, to enable the ability to roll crisis contacts back and forth as need in an emergency. Both agencies have full access to their online CRM programs.

In March of this year, we enhanced this plan with a “reciprocal cloud system” in which both agencies maintain mirrored servers which conduct daily network backups and allows for quick retrieval of organisational data/systems as needed. Just prior to the storm hitting land, we conducted a full test of the service continuity and cloud backup system, including rolling crisis contacts.

We launched the test at 6:00 am, and ended up handling 12 calls for them in about 25 minutes. They generally handle 325,000 calls a year. NDVH has been taking the crisis calls for six or more east Texas domestic violence hotline impacted by the storm and have told us they are emotionally exhausted.”

All our working areas are marooned under water.

Aparajeyo Bangladesh

“All of our working areas are marooned under water. We have dropped two days staff salary and provided at least 7 days food for 180 families in the northern part of Bangladesh. Still people are requesting and asking for support in the most vulnerable areas of Bangladesh or in the areas that are hard to reach.  They clearly show the floods in Bangladesh and the issue of Rohynga children, women and people migrating from Myanmar to Bangladesh.”