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Children still affected five years on from Philippines typhoon

Thu 08 Nov 2018
By Premier Journalist

On the 5th anniversary of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines a Christian maritime charity, the Sailors Society, says traumatised children need long term strategies to rebuild their lives.

The typhoon claimed more than six thousand lives when it devastated the Philippines in 2013.

One child, Marylourds Lim, aged eleven, survived the disaster, but struggled to deal with the mental trauma it caused.

 

She told the Sailors' Society: "I kept thinking about it. I kept dreaming a dog was chasing me. I felt that there was another typhoon coming."

Since the typhoon, the charity has rebuilt 48 homes, four medical centres and three classrooms that double as emergency shelters.

It also founded a Seafarers' Pupil's Club to help children come to terms with their traumatic experiences and train them in preparing for disasters.

Having attended the club, Marylourds added, "We were taught how to prepare before and after the typhoon, what we should do. I'm not afraid anymore."

Sandra Welch, deputy CEO of the Sailors Society, told Premier:

"I've spoken many times to the children in the school, their parents and their teachers. As I spoke to them, I realised that many of them are still really traumatised by what had happened. They were still afraid."

Around a quarter of the world's seafarers come from the Philippines and the country is key to world trade. With more than 20 deadly storms hitting the Philippines annually, the Sailors' Society has also set up a Crisis Response Network to help those affected by trauma.

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