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Dear Editor,

Let us all be on ‘heightened awareness’ to the whereabouts and safety of our children at all times. Be watchful and sensitive towards our elderly looking at the devastation. They will most likely be very emotionally and mentally distressed for the future.

I’m sure many children are still experiencing emotional and mental trauma from the cyclone effects and high winds.

For a child seeing the devastation can probably shift their minds to another level of being disoriented due to the damage and loss of what’s familiar to them. Their normal behaviors may be altered.

During evening times, please take the time to allow the children to process what they went through. Allow them to express their fears, insecurities or facinations of what happened during and after the cyclone/ monsoon.

Lets be sensitive enough to understand that during unresolved fears, it can cause a child to become attracted or clingy to any source they trust. A source they believe will give them comfort, attention or security. With all the recovery noise of yelling, banging, sawing, cutting, engines running, etc. children find it easy to wander away in their own little world.

At these points our children can be very vulnerable to unplesant situations. They are innocently easy victims to those who seek to harm them. Predators are always quietly waiting for any opportunity to strike.

Recovering  from any disaster, can be very dangerous if we do not remain vigilant. Seeing our child with a known adult or stranger may seem okay since we’re so busy trying to repair our homes or clear the land. (What can possibly happen? It’s daylight and the neighbors are all outside.)

Carelessness while clearing the lands and damaged homes can claim life, limb and sight. It can also take our attention away from our children and incapacitated elders.

Let us all be advocates for the safety of our children; advocate for our elderly folks’ peace of mind. It only takes a blink of an eye for disaster to strike. It takes only you and I, to drop-kick the community ball to start it rolling, to prevent and stop further damage.

Ipu Avegalio Lefiti

Famly Victim Advocate