After the earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş that occurred on February 6, IPA launched a scientific study on the situation of children affected by the earthquake. As a result of the research carried out by specialist pediatricians across Turkey, it has been found that 4.8 million children in the country have been affected by the earthquake. According to the results of the study; 1 in 5 children in Turkey was psychologically, physically or socially affected by the earthquake. Kerem Hasanoğlu, Director of IPA Foreign Relations, “The World Health Organization and IPA emphasize that children are affected by natural disasters in three ways. These happen physically, psychologically and socially. We saw all three in the February 6 earthquakes. The main problem here is that they are psychologically affected.” said.
‘EFFECTS CAN OCCUR EVEN AFTER 6 MONTHS’
Emphasizing that the process can manifest in children even after 6 months, Hasanoğlu said, “The point being emphasized is that post-traumatic stress disorder in children can last for about 6 months. After 2-3 months, a child can experience these traumas for up to 6 months, and their effects may appear suddenly. Therefore, we all have a lot of responsibility. The greatest support for these children is psychological support. We have to observe the children for about 6 months. It has been about 3 months since the earthquake. The main point on which we what we should focus on is that we don’t remind the kids of the same subject over and over again, we argue that kids should be treated as motivation and psychological support to bring them back to life as soon as possible, rather than reminding them over and over again remember the same scenes.”
‘SUSTAINABLE SUPPORT IS NECESSARY’
Hasanoğlu, who drew attention to the importance of continuity of support to the region, said: “In Turkey, the nation, the state, since the first day of the earthquake, we all gathered and organized morale visits and sent gifts to these children so that they could recover psychologically. You know, toys were sent from football matches. We showed a very good example of unity. The most important thing here is its durability. If you psychologically support children a few times and suddenly withdraw from the field, there will be a vacuum. This is a long-term job, it is necessary to support the psychology of these children in a sustainable way. The psychological effect of the earthquake in children manifests itself in the form of fear or an anxiety disorder. “This manifests in the form of being more excited, scared, unable to continue with the activities they do every day, falling behind in the activities they love to do,” he said.