Save the Children’s Six Month Progress Report Highlights Emotional Needs
Wendy Christian 203.221.3767 (W)
WESTPORT, Conn. (Jan. 28, 2011) — Children in flood-ravaged regions of Pakistan remain traumatized six months since the world’s worst disaster this century unravelled the lives of nearly 21 million people, according to a psychological assessment conducted by the leading humanitarian organization Save the Children. The organization found many of the 120 children ages 5 to 15 who participated in the analysis experienced four major psychological issues during and after the flood including aggression, shyness and lack of expression; adjustment issues; feelings of insecurities; and fear of water, people, open places, and darkness. Save the Children has established 174 Child Friendly Spaces across the country to help children cope with the disaster.
Read the Psychological Assessment Report: Psychosocial Problems and Needs of Children in Flood Affected Areas in Pakistan
“Many children still struggle in the aftermath of the flood,” said David Wright, Save the Children’s Country Director. “Many have nightmares and they have not come to terms with the disaster. They do not have proper clothes; they have lost their toys; and their schools remain closed. These losses are just too much for a child to deal with. If these children do not get sufficient assistance to deal with emotional problems, they could suffer from poor self esteem and lack of confidence later in life.”
Children in the hard-hit regions of Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur in the Punjab province and in the Swat district of Khyber Pakthunkhwa bore the brunt of the floods. Houses have been completely destroyed and families reported sleeping in the open air or living in tents. The majority of schools have been damaged or ruined. Many children have little or no access to food, clean water, or health and education services. In Muzaffargarh, for instance, children are walking long distances to collect water while access to toilets and hand washing facilities is severely limited.
Save the Children has set up Child Friendly Spaces designed to provide children a sense of normalcy and security as well as tools on how to cope with daily life while living in the camps. Activities offered in these safe areas include art therapy, group counselling and play. To date, at least 130,308 children have benefited from this critical emotional support.
“We must help children not only recover, but also thrive, so that one day, they see that the devastating 2010 floods did have a silver lining,” added Wright. “With continued support from the international community, we can transform this disaster into a catalyst for change by helping children become safer, healthier, happier, and more educated than they were before.”
Save the Children’s response to the Pakistan floods is the largest in the organization’s 91-year history. Since the floods, Save the Children has reached more than 2.6 million flood-affected people through emergency medical care, distribution of shelter materials, food, child protection, education, and livelihood support.
Save the Children has worked in Pakistan for more than 30 years.
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