The Visayas Primary Healthcare Services recently rendered psychosocial support services for families affected by Typhoon Yolanda in Barangay Malingin, Daanbantayan, Cebu. The services consisted of three psychosocial sessions in November and December 2014 and January 2015. A total of 78 adults and 39 children who were affected by the typhoon benefitted from the services.
The services are part of the project undertaken by the Cebu Bohol Relief and Rehabilitation Center (CRRC) lasting from November 2014 until April 2015. The project is implemented in partnership with the Malingin Farmers’ Association. It is funded by the American Jewish World Service based in the United Kingdom.
Aside from the services, the project also undertook the repair of houses of 68 families who were members of the farmers association and conducted a seminar on disaster management to them.
Staff of the VPHCS conducted the psychosocial services. A disaster education was first held regarding the scientific explanation of earthquakes, typhoons, landslides, and floods and other disasters, and basic information on disaster preparedness and management. This information would not only increase knowledge of the affected communities but would also ease their tensions as they can now explain scientifically the causes of disasters. Even the basic knowledge on what to do during disasters is a form of healing for the affected communities.
Group therapy was then done where the residents shared their experiences and their feelings when the typhoon struck and how they were able to cope with their tensions. The VPHCS staff processed their experiences.
The children had play therapy and art therapy as their psychosocial activities. In play therapy, the children used a cloth game to express their feelings on what would make them happy, secure and calm. In art therapy, the children expressed their feelings through drawings. They also shared experiences during the disaster and sang lively songs. The VPHCS staff processed the projections of the children.
After the sessions, the residents said that they had now fully recovered from their trauma due to Typhoon Yolanda. They needed to move on with life, since they had families to take care of. They also said that their organization was actively looking after their welfare, and working for their rehabilitation, particularly in food security, school and livelihood assistance and preparing for future disasters.
Many also said that they attributed their strength in their belief of the existence of God and this faith alleviated their emotional and psychological burden.