Preventing Abuse and Trauma to Internally Displaced Children Living in Camps Due to Disasters in Pakistan

Nargis Asad, Rozina Karmaliani, Rozina Somani, Shela Hirani, Aneeta Pasha, Saima Hirani, Laila Cassum, Judith McFarlane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, Pakistan has experienced several natural disasters-such as the earthquake of 2005 in Swat, measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale, and unprecedented flooding that caused havoc from the Himalayas to the shores of the Arabian Sea in 2010. In addition, people are affected by armed conflicts both within Pakistan's borders and in Afghanistan, such as the decade-long conflict in the Northern provinces along the border. Consequently, a large number of refugees and internally displaced people, mostly women and children, are in shelters in internally displaced population camps. These camps lack sufficient supply and storage of daily ration, sanitation, health and educational facilities. Inhuman living conditions add an enormous burden to the level of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression of these internally displaced people. While women are extremely vulnerable to these mental health problems, their children are equally exposed and suffer with mental stresses, as mothers do not have the capacity to supervise and protect their children from the potential physical, psychological and sexual abuse prevalent in marginalised living conditions and an environment of easy exposure to social hazards and the toxic mentality of men. This conceptually based paper addresses some of the challenges and risks identified and faced by children of the camps for displaced persons in Pakistan. The authors propose a psycho-social framework based on public health interventions to decrease the risk of abuse and trauma, to protect these vulnerable children, and to maximise the strength and resilience of the family unit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-274
Number of pages8
JournalChild Care in Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


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