Box 4 Trauma of Thai Child Survivors
also responsible for the safety and security of children
  ensuring the prevention of child trafficking, coordinating
the search for missing children, and providing scholarships
Prajak Changreua, the director of education services
through the Ministry of Education.  The Ministry plans
for Krabi, said after the disaster that he wanted
to establish ten centres for early childhood care and
to make sure that all the region s children could
development   seven in Phang Nga and one each in
still go to school.  "It s important to keep children
Ranong, Phuket and Krabi
48
.
in school right now, because their school is like
their second home.   They know people and feel
Measures for Psychosocial Support and Coping with
safe," he said.  "It also gives us a clearer picture of
Trauma
who is still missing, and who is in need of our
The tsunami tragedy took a psychological toll on both
help."
adults and children.  Post disaster trauma made it difficult
Source: BBC News World Edition, 9 January 2005;
for affected people to get back to a normal life; disrup 
news.bbc.co.uk
tion and lack of livelihoods and employment com 
pounded the problem.  The Department of Mental
This was a major success for the RTG and its partners
Health launched a sustained effort to support those
particularly UNICEF, and Thai and international NGOs
who were affected in dealing with the trauma and
which supported this effort.
stress of having lived through the disaster
49
.
There was a great deal of concern also for orphans.
It mobilised staff response teams with psychiatrists,
Those not cared for by families were put under the care
psychologists, social workers, nurses and pharmacists
of state run orphanages or at boarding schools where
covering each affected district.  These teams provided
they received free meals and education until trans 
individual and group counselling as well as medication
ferred to two special boarding schools being built for
for those in need.  Home visits are currently conducted
the children orphaned by the tsunami disaster.  His
on a weekly basis, and the programme is scheduled to
Majesty the King of Thailand donated USD 767,000 for
continue with monthly visits for two years.  Relatives
building the two schools.
Following the disaster, the Mental Health Department
(DOMH) mapped out a strategic plan focusing on four
Box 5 Trauma Risk for Tsunami Survivors
different types of affected children: those orphaned
by the tsunami, those who witnessed the catastrophe,
Somchai Chakrabhand, head of the Mental Health
those whose parents lost their jobs and homes, and
Department, said that about 30% of people in tsunami 
those who had poor living standards even before the
hit areas showed signs of moderate post traumatic
I
tsunami struck.   These children are supported by a two 
stress disorder, such as being unable to sleep or
M
year mental relief programme.  In Takua Pa District, a
A
look at the sea.  Another 20% were "very significantly
N
mental health care centre  was established to conduct
U
affected," he added displaying symptoms such as
S
surveillance on children s mental health and to evaluate
 T
an obsession with waiting for the return of their
E
their psychological conditions after the tsunami.  A team
H
loved ones. "Without the necessary help to deal
 T
of 500 psychologists was mobilised in the affected areas
O
with this mental trauma and the issues surrounding
 T
to provide advice to teachers and relatives in caring
E
the mental health fallout of the disaster, the long term
S
for the affected children.
N
effects could be as devastating as the tsunami itself 
OP
a second tsunami."
SE
The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security
 R
continues to provide assistance for the rehabilitation
 S
Source: BBC News World Edition, 2 February 2005; news.bbc.co.uk
D
of tsunami orphans and children affected by the tsunami,
NA
by taking care of and supporting the education of
ILA
2,182 children.  The Ministry has established centres
H T
to care for mothers and young children, where activities
48
 Ministry of Social Development and Human Security report, 28
 2
November 2005
T
include health check ups, child development, and art
R
49
 The Department of Mental Health, Ministry of Public Health,
therapy as a mean of psychosocial recovery.  They are
PA
November 2005; www.dmh.go.th/english
30
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