6 May 2010

Samoan children still traumatised in aftermath of tsunami

2:08 pm on 6 May 2010

A child psychiatrist who was part of the counseling team in Samoa after last year's tsunami says about ten percent of children are still traumatized.

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143 people died, and hundreds of homes were destroyed on the south and eastern coasts of Upolu when the tsunami hit.

A programme was created to help young people deal with the shock of what happened and the grief of losing family members.

The psychiatrist, Allister Bush, says about 90 percent of the children will now be doing well, and will have returned to normal lives, but others will be struggling.

"They might be having some kind of nightmares, perhaps some kind of reminders or anxiety which is inhibiting their life in some kind of way. And there's a smaller group that would be having more severe difficulties ongoing."

Allister Bush says with disasters happening more frequently in the Pacific, health workers need to be ready to respond to mental health needs.