Children need special assistance to cope from stress and Taal’s fury

Children need special assistance to cope from stress and Taal's fury
Children become stressed and weary as they cope from the difficulties caused by the massive evacuation from their homes to escape Taal’s continuing volcanic threat to the surrounding communities.

“Children affected by disaster may not be able to fully process what they’ve just experienced. That’s why it is important that we have to observe behavior, the way they interact with other children or the way they talk. Some children are resilient. Some may look ok but when you ask them about their experience, they will start to show signs of fear, ” said World Vision child protection specialist Flor Algo.

Taal Volcano erupted last January 12 producing tons of volcanic ashes reaching several areas as far as Metro Manila, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported.

Constancia Hernadez, 52, a teacher, said she had seen how confused and scared the evacuees were when they first arrived at her school. “Many of them merely follow what others were doing. They seemed to be in a state of shock,” she said.

Twelve-year-old survivor Kenneth recalled, “I got scared. I was holding to my mother as tightly as I could. Everything was dark. There were lightning. It was scary.”

“In times like this, we need to look into the well-being of children who cannot fully express what they feel. Failure to process what they feel may lead to psychosocial problem,” Algo also said.

Taal Volcanic eruption has affected more than 100,000 families and causedmore than Php3 billion worth of damage to agriculture, latest data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported. Many of the affected families are residing in at least 500 evacuation centers, while some are living outside the evacuation centers such as with their relatives.