Bunkhouses may be detrimental to Yolanda rehab - expert

By Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Feb 06 2014 05:22 PM | Updated as of Feb 07 2014 01:23 AM

Sense of normalcy needed, says Save the Children Int'l

MANILA - Prolonged stay in bunkhouses may hamper rehabilitation of communities in Yolanda-torn communities, top officials of Save the Children International said.

Like tent cities, bunk houses may provide quick relief to victims but “sometimes, they end up being used longer,” Save the Children International Chief Executive Jasmine Whitbread said.

Living longer in these supposed temporary homes will highlight the fact that those living in them are victims, she said.

“For young people to recover, they need to get back to a certain sense of normalcy: go back to school, community, be with friends…When you take people away from where they’re used to living, the recovery process can’t continue,” she said.

She said people don’t want to become victims all their lives. What they need is a little boost that they can get back on their feet, she added.

She said this is what their organization is doing: to prompt the citizens to have a sense of normalcy.

Whitbread, who is based in the UK, made the rounds in Tacloban this week and noticed the “impressive” progress of Filipinos.

She said Save the Children was able to spend around $60 million, coming from pledges abroad, in the first few months and “will look to raise more.”

She said the rehabilitation process is already a multi-sector response, which means helping the families of their main concern – the children.

When it comes to children, “they are inherently quite resilient…[especially] if they get to a safe place, interact with other children, go into art therapies, etc.”

She said the organization is also focused in bringing back the children to school.

“After a disaster strikes, every day that the child is out of school, that increases hugely the chance of the child not to recover,” she said.

She explained that when a child is kept at home, he or she is more prone to reliving the experience. She said it is best that the child be able to interact with others.