The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to pay “special attention” to the children in the areas hit by natural calamities including floods that are engulfing most parts of the country as they are the most vulnerable targets at the times of natural disasters.

Directing the NDMA to “attach special attention to the children in the event of disaster”, the bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta said that they are the most “vulnerable” victims in such situations.

The court direction to NDMA came in the course of the hearing of a public interest plea by the NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) centred around the missing children.

The court in the course of the last hearing on August 2 had said that all the issues that have been raised by the NGO have been taken care of through the several judgments of the top court delivered from time to time and the only issue that remains to be addressed is that of missing children and tracing them.

Senior counsel H.S.Phoolka, appearing for the NGO, urged the court to direct the NDMA and the State Natural Disaster Management Authorities to establish special children units for the protection of children in the areas hit by natural calamities.

He told the court that vulnerable children in calamity-hit areas exposes them to trafficking, forced marriage or bonded labour.

Besides directing NDMA, the top court also directed the State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights to monitor the implementation of the special operating procedures for the missing children including registration of FIRs.

The court order came as Phoolka told the court that after the recovery of the missing children, no FIR is registered.

Citing the gravity of the situation, Phoolka told the court in 2016, 73,919 children went missing, out of which 31,843 were traced but 41,078 remain untraced.

The court also asked the National Crime Record Bureau to compile data on the missing children – something that is not being done till now.

On the vacancies in the NCPCR and the SCPCR, the court said that it would pass order in another case relating to vacancies.