"Emergencies are always local events--they affect the individuals and area immediately surrounding them. However, sometimes the scope of an emergency event expands to include entire communities and even whole regions. These large-scale disasters and catastrophic incidents (hereafter referred to as 'disasters') range from natural hazards (e.g., hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, mudslides, tornados, winter storms) to human-caused threats (e.g., terrorist attacks). Furthermore, these disasters present unique challenges, such as the opportunity for children to become separated from their parents or legal guardians (hereafter referred to as 'family'). Children may be alone or with someone other than their family at the time of the disaster, and can be either unintentionally separated from or abandoned by their families during or after a disaster, exposing them to such dangers as assault, abduction and exploitation. In some cases, children may be the only surviving family members in disasters involving mass casualties."
Department of Education: https://www.ed.gov/