The Colombia government will be unable to provide adequate psychological care for the more than 17,000 children and adolescents displaced in 2012, said an international NGO on Sunday.
Fanny Uribe of the NGO “Fundacion Plan” told local media that psychosocial care for internally displaced children is currently ‘weak’ and that government offers little coverage.
The number of children and adolescents displaced in Colombia grew by 17,573 in 2012. They join the rest of the 37% of children and young adults who are part of the approximately 4 million internal displacements.
Many children are left with physical and emotional problems after the trauma of displacement and forced migration. The deputy director of the Colombian Family Welfare Institutue, Adriana Gonzalez, said the most common problems are related to malnutrition and psychological issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
“The issues of psychological rehabilitation are the most difficult and long-lasting to work with. [Treatment] isn’t the same at two years of age [as it is at] 10. Each child requires a particular and specific treatment,” said Gonzalez.
According to the latest government statistics, of the 17,573 displacements, more than 10,000, or a reported 59%, occurred in the troubled southwest department of Cauca. The left-wing guerrilla force, FARC, was cited as the most common cause of displacement.