Portland-based Mercy Corps is partnering with a Chilean health organization to provide traumatized children on the still-shaking ground with "comfort kits" to help them cope with disaster-related trauma.
The 8.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Chile on Saturday killed more than 800, caused significant damage to Concepción and the capital Santiago and affected upward of 2 million Chileans.
"The Chilean government has considerable capacity to deal with immediate post-earthquake needs of its people,” explained Randy Martin, Mercy Corps director of Global Emergency Operation. “Unfortunately the emotional trauma of children is often neglected in the rush to satisfy pressing physical needs. Mercy Corps looks forward to bringing our Comfort for Kids approach to help children, parents and other caregivers in Chile recover from the quake."
Mercy Corps sent a few thousand sacks filled with age-appropriate stuffed animals, workbooks, and coloring materials in Creole for children in Haiti, said Caitlin Carlson. Similar bags will head to youngsters Chile through Educación Popular en Salud to help prevent symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder from evolving into a chronic condition.