Tue, Aug 25, 2009 - Page 3 News List

MORAKOT: THE AFTERMATH: MOE offers counseling to disaster-struck children

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Ministry of Education (MOE) is providing counseling for the many traumatized children in areas devastated by Typhoon Morakot, Deputy Minister of Education Lin Tsong-ming (林聰明) said yesterday.

Lin said 277 volunteer counselors and 100 professionals were already in place and they would be offering therapy to children in emergency shelters who lost relatives and homes in the storm.

Many of the children have been displaying symptoms of psychological trauma, including insomnia, nightmares, poor appetite and inability to focus, he said.

Under the Ministry of Education’s two-phase plan, one-on-one counseling would be provided in the first stage, he said.

In the second phase, universities would “adopt” elementary and junior high schools to offer professional therapy, he said.

The aim is to provide a professional, systematic, localized and deeply caring service, he said.

The first stage of the plan will begin before the new school year starts and will focus on soothing victims and easing stress. There are 13 psychological therapy centers at emergency shelters in the region. The counselors will identify children in need of therapy and send them to the centers.

The second phase will begin after schools open and run until February, using professional counselors placed at schools.

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