Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of the huge 8.9 earthquake that rocked Japan and triggered a devastating tsunami when nearly 20,000 people lost their lives.
More than 1,500 children lost one or both parents in the disaster. "Lots of children were displaced very rapidly and under very frightening circumstances," points out Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University. He studies the effects of disasters on children."There's a myth that the disaster's over when the rains stop, or the earthquake finally settles down," he said. "But the fact is, for children ... the consequences of disaster can last for many, many years, and possibly never go away."
UCLA pediatrician Kozue Shimabukuro raced back to her native Japan after the tsunami, to help the children. "The patients I encountered during that time were just so heartbreaking," she recalls. "They just hold onto me and say, 'Don't go, don't go,' like they can't endure to lose another person." Doctors from Israel still are here helping children with PTSD. U.S.-based World Vision set up seven Child-Friendly Spaces. Read the full article.