A year after devastating earthquakes, children grapple with psychological problems, says Save the Children

A child crosses a water ditch under the rain to reach tents set up to home displaced people following two massive earthquakes in February in Adıyaman, southeastern Turkey on March 25, 2023. (Photo by BULENT KILIC / AFP)

A report prepared by the London-based NGO Save the Children revealed that children in Turkey were contending with psychological problems caused by devastating earthquakes in February 2023, Deutsche Welle (DW) Turkish service reported.

According to the report nearly half the children affected by the earthquake suffer from anxiety and demonstrate aggressive behaviors. While most children are able to attend school, they face many difficulties accessing school supplies, which also creates frustration.

Sasha Ekanayake, Save the Children Turkey director, said although the earthquakes had been forgotten by many, victims living in the region still faced the challenges of being left homeless. “One in every three children lives in a tent or container. Not only were their homes devastated, but their whole lives were also devasted,” she said. “Save the Children is working closely with local authorities to make sure children in the region can access basic services.”

Magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 earthquakes affected 11 provinces in the country’s south and southeast on February 6, 2023, killing more than 50,000 people and leaving millions homeless. Nearly 2 million people are staying temporary accommodation shelters with limited access to basic services such as water and medical assistance.

According to UNICEF the earthquakes affected 4.6 million children in Turkey and disrupted the education of nearly 4 million children since 1,842 educational facilities were totally destroyed.

Furthermore, the earthquakes increased the chances that children may be exploited or abused. There have already been allegations of child trafficking and child labor in the aftermath of the tragedy, and children who are separated from their families or who are living in crowded and unsafe situations are particularly vulnerable to exploitation. 

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