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Myanmar: Half a Million Children Affected by Cyclone, Aid Agency Warns
Date:5/14/2008

- World Vision opens 37 'Child-Friendly Spaces' to help children cope with

disaster

- Children have witnessed 'unimaginable horrors,' face 'risk of

psychological trauma'

- Child-Friendly Spaces also helping children in China quake zone

YANGON, Myanmar, May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- World Vision is addressing the emotional and physical needs of children impacted by Cyclone Nargis by setting up safe play places where they can regain a sense of normality. Some half a million of those affected by the killer storm are estimated to be children.

The aid agency is rolling out 37 Child-Friendly Spaces in and around Yangon to help children cope with devastating consequences of the disaster; many children have been left orphaned, injured or vulnerable to disease. World Vision's priority is to ensure all children are safe and to support their recovery.

Thousands of the estimated 500,000 children affected will be able to play games, gain informal education and talk about their experiences in a caring and supportive environment facilitated by trained World Vision volunteers.

Samson Jeyakumar, World Vision's child protection specialist, said: "Thousands of children are emotionally vulnerable and may be at risk of psychological trauma after witnessing unimaginable horrors such as losing loved ones and having to flee their homes.

"Child-Friendly Spaces will enable children to return to some sort of familiarity and help establish a routine, while parents try to deal with the practical realities of displacement."

The spaces, serving up to 100 children each, are being set up in schools, community buildings and other sites. World Vision plans to establish more centers in the Delta area, where tens of thousands of children are displaced from flattened villages and are migrating into areas where they can access food and shelter. Hundreds of orphans are currently staying i
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SOURCE World Vision
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