Emergency Emotional Support for Children Affected by Typhoon Haiyan

Dedicated ‘safe spaces’ for children affected by Typhoon Haiyan will be set up from this week, so youngsters can continue learning, playing, and start coming to terms with the disaster.

The first child-friendly spaces will be set up on Wednesday to reach hundreds of children in a remote community of northern Cebu, where homes and schools were flattened by the 200mph winds.
Around 40 more are planned for the coming weeks and months.

Dr. Yvonne Duque, a health expert for World Vision in the Philippines, said: “Some children have literally nothing left but the clothes on their back, and are living in a devastated landscape which was once their home.

“Everything around them, including their safety network, disappeared when the typhoon hit."

“Our immediate priority was to deliver food and water to families, and thousands of people have now received this. Now we need to urgently address children’s emotional needs, as well as ensure they’re protected. This is to provide safe areas to continue to provide some kind of normality amid this chaos.”

The benefits of child friendly spaces have proven effective in previous disasters, particularly as children’s development in their early years is known to have an impact throughout their whole life.

Dr. Duque continued: “These child friendly spaces are a safe place to express themselves and start coming to terms with what has happened – often by explaining their emotions through artwork.

“The healing process will take years and it’s crucial to start right now.”

The child friendly spaces will be set up in communities where emergency food and water has already been handed out. Children will also be given information on how to protect themselves and their friends – and how to prepare for future disasters. 

For more information on ‘child friendly spaces’, visit:  http://www.worldvision.org/news-stories-videos/child-friendly-spaces-report