Helping the children after the typhoon

Helping the children after the typhoon
HELPING HAND: World Vision New Zealand chief executive officer Chris Clark at the relief supplies distribution in Cebu.

In addition to humanitarian aid, World Vision International (WVI) is among organisations trying to help children deal with the psychological impact of Typhoon Haiyan.

It estimates there are about five million children affected by the disaster, of which 112,000 children are under the age of five.

The typhoon battered the Philippines on Nov 8, leaving nearly 4,000 dead and 18,175 injured, with another 1,602 still missing.

"We've got a regional child protection specialist on the ground and a team focused on identifying and setting up child friendly spaces (CFS)," WVI emergency response manager Jimmy Nadapdap told The New Paper over the phone from Cebu City.

CFS are centres for children affected by disasters to recover and rehabilitate through playing with their peers and other activities.

For children, all the usual hazards of natural disaster are heightened.

The sheer scale of Typhoon Haiyan and the loss of lives around them, meant that children were exposed to a much broader set of risks, both mentally and physically. Some of them had lost their parents, family members and friends.

Ms Flordeliza Arpon, 32, who lived in Manlurip village just outside Tacloban, gave some idea of the trauma involved when she recounted to AFP how she and her eldest child had been separated from her husband and their two other children as the storm waters destroyed their house and almost swept them out to sea.

"We were each sure the others had died, but then we found each other again four days later," said Ms Arpon.

All of the children are also at risk from the lack of clean drinking water.

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