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Kids Worry About Their Stuff Too: How The Flood Traumatizes Children

Kids Worry About Their Stuff Too: How The Flood Traumatizes Children

Toys can help comfort children during this tough time.

Melissa Suraya Ismail

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Nobody ever expects themselves to be victims of natural disasters. It’s unexpected and of course undesirable, but even more so for young children who will not understand what is going on.

During the recent floodings, children were also affected by the loss of their belongings and home comforts.

Volunteer @lilyaleesya recounted that she saw a kid crying continuously and tried her best to aid him gently. Using ‘Psychological First Aid (PFA)’ skills to validate his trauma, she managed to get the kid to stop crying.

She urges people who’ll come across any victims who have been in a traumatic experience to use this method of response when dealing with them.

While helping the boy with a bottle of water and with a place to calm down, she tried putting herself into his traumatized shoes and asked “Are you sad because your toys are missing?”.

He nodded and then she managed to get him to stop crying by assuring him that no one is going to touch his toys. She further advised the public to avoid invalidating kids’ pain because they too are affected by this psychologically.

This is followed by her advocating for the children’s mental and emotional health by collecting threads that do toy donation drives for kids.

She also suggested that people who are thinking of volunteering for the flood victims could buy or collect toys for the kids and create a team that can do activities with them. This aspect of their wellbeing needs to be paid attention to too.

A flooded neighbourhood in Taman Sri Muda. Credit: Fernando Fong/TRP

What Is Psychological First Aid (PFA)?

PFA is an approach to help children, adolescents, adults, and families who suffered from the immediate aftermath of disaster or terrorism.

People affected by the disaster might struggle or face new challenges following the event. PFA is designed to reduce initial distress and to foster short and long-term adaptive functioning and coping.

The approach includes:

  • Offering non-intrusive, practical care and support,
  • Helping to address basic needs (food, water)
  • Listening and not pressuring them
  • Comforting them to feel calm
  • Helping people connect information, services, and support
  • Protecting them from further harm

PFA doesn’t need to be done by professionals only. Instead, it is simply a gentle approach to comfort victims without pressuring them to immediately assess what has happened.

It takes time for people, particularly children, to process their thoughts and emotions after a traumatic event, and additional pressure will only serve to hinder their emotional recovery.

Following the flood crisis that is still ongoing here in some parts of Malaysia, a mental health advocator, @AimanPsikologi is also talking about the need for PFA for those affected victims.

He is collaborating with some NGOs to have training for volunteers on this skill apart from also giving physical help to the victims affected.

https://twitter.com/AimanPsikologi/status/1472450226543730694

Trauma from crises isn’t a thing that could be taken lightly.

Toy Donation Drive For The Unfortunate Cuties

Some of the #DaruratBanjir has inspired people to do various donation drives from food, money, hygienic and medical kits, furniture, glasses, and also toys.

Here are some Toy Donation Drives for kids affected by the flood done by multiple NGOs. You can find out more donation drive areas nearest to you in the thread below.

https://twitter.com/locopinko/status/1473241135644438528
https://twitter.com/notsoaidil/status/1473211653588021249
https://twitter.com/nnadiasolehah/status/1473278309857300486

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