100 traumatised among 12,694 displaced children in Manipur: Govt data

Sep 03, 2023 06:21 PM IST

The Manipur social welfare department said that they are also actively monitoring severely malnourished children and so far, 16 children have been treated for severely malnourished cases

There are 12,694 children living in relief camps across violence-hit Manipur and out of them, 100 are severely traumatised, needing professional counselling, said a government release, quoting the data made available by the state social welfare department.

There are 12,694 children living in relief camps across violence-hit Manipur. (HT Photo)
There are 12,694 children living in relief camps across violence-hit Manipur. (HT Photo)

The department is also actively monitoring severely malnourished children, and such children are being sent to the state-run JNIMS hospital in Imphal. So far, 16 children have been treated for severely malnourished cases, the release said.

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The social welfare department’s team of qualified medical practitioners and child psychiatrists working as volunteers are providing professional counselling to those who are severely traumatised, the release stated.

“Whenever they find such severely traumatised children, they will be identified, and taken to professional counsellors. We’ve done this for a little more than 100 children. We hope that this number does not increase and these traumatised children can go back to normal very soon,” said Ng Uttam Singh, director of the social welfare department.

Manipur has been witnessing ethnic conflict since the first week of May, in which more than 150 people have been killed and nearly 50,000 people displaced.

“A child may not be traumatised immediately. But that trauma can come up after one week or a month,” Singh said.

The release said that counsellors are deployed through district children protection offices in every district to address the mental health of the displaced children. They visit children’s homes in relief camps to give counselling and to identify children who actually require professional counselling, it said.

Child psychiatrist Dr Jina Heigrujam, who has visited several relief camps to identify children having post-traumatic stress disorder, said that professional counselling is essential to avoid a myriad of mental health issues from developing.

The government release said that trained field functionaries of the department identify stress affected children at relief camps and employ ‘play and dance’ methods to identify stress affected children.

After the play and dance group exercise, the displaced children are given drawing pencils and papers and asked to sketch/draw anything they like, it said.

Another cause of concern that the social welfare department is looking to address is the status of the relief camps vis-à-vis their children’s friendliness. As the relief camps are unplanned and set up on a need basis, a UNICEF team, which visited the state, provided a blueprint for setting up children friendly relief camps, the release said.

The social welfare director said that review meetings are held at the chief secretary’s level every week to avoid shortfalls in childcare in relief camps.

Manipur chief secretary Dr Vineet Joshi-led officials have been visiting relief camps to take stock of the conditions of children put up there,the release added.

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