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Children Need Support After Natural Disasters
A natural disaster is a truly devastating event and it will have a significant effect on all members of a community, but especially the children. Young people need security in their lives in order to feel safe and when their community is torn apart by the effects of a natural disaster, this security disappears.
The adult role models in their lives will likely be traumatised and stressed out after the event, which will make it more difficult for children to feel safe. The psychological and physical effects of this trauma can cause children to exhibit a number of symptoms including social withdrawal, regression, nightmares, insomnia, lack of appetite, lethargy, anxiety and much more.
How Can We Support Children After Natural Disasters?
No matter where in the world they live or what type of natural disaster they have survived, whether it is a tsunami, a flood, a hurricane an earthquake or otherwise, children need support after these disruptive events. Usually the entire community will be impacted and the familiar environment will be changed or even devastated. These factors create a number of coping challenges that can make it very difficult for children to move on.
In this situation, children will look to the adults in their life for guidance on how to move on. One way that we can help children in this situation is to provide them with strong role models that will demonstrate coping skills. We can teach children strategies for dealing with their loss, as well as fostering supportive relationships and helping children to come to terms with their emotional reactions.
It is also important to create a familiar and stable environment where children can feel safe. This can sometimes be a classroom or a community centre where children are able to express themselves and share their experiences. Having the support of caring adults in this environment will help children to recover from their trauma.
Often it is helpful to encourage children to talk about the disaster and other related events. Young people need to be able to share their experiences in an accepting environment. Sometimes creative projects such as drawing, music, drama and stories can help give children an outlet to express these feelings in a way that they could not explain through words.
Another very important aspect of supporting children after a natural disaster is allowing them the opportunity to build and strengthen friendships. Sometimes friendships are disrupted after disasters because of relocation, which can make it even more difficult for children to cope. It is important to allow children to build friendships and spend time with others their own age. Their relationships with their peers can help them not feel so alone and can give them an outlet for sharing their feelings.
These are just a few of the important ways that we can support children who have survived a natural disaster. To find out more information about how to sponsor a child with Plan, please visit Plan UK’s website today.