25 Nov 2002

Traumatised eruption victims in PNG need help

6:46 pm on 25 November 2002

UNICEF says it is concerned about the lack of counselling to the high number of children traumatised by Papua New Guinea's Mt Pago eruption in August.

UNICEF's country director, Rudy Rodgriguez says thousands of children sheltering in care centres in West New Britain have received no counselling since the volcanic eruptions.

UNICEF has donated nearly 200,000 US dollars worth of aid supplies to the coordinators of the eight care centres accomodating 17,000 people displaced by the eruptions.

There have been complaints of shortages of food and medical supplies.

Mr Rodriguez says UNICEF is monitoring the care centrs to ensure that the children receive basic food and medical supplies.

He says though many show signs of trauma.

"Mainly withdrawn, very very quiet not wanting to play, these kids have led very stable lives, so when Pago started to erupt they were woken up in the middle of the night, and forced to flee their homes and went into care centres that were very basic so this experience was very hard on them."

Rudy Rodriguez from UNICEF.