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Trauma stalks children of Japan tsunami

The horror of Japan’s tsunami has raised concerns over the long-term impact on children, some of whom are already displaying signs of trauma, from screaming nightmares to silent withdrawal.

According to the charity Save the Children, around 100,000 children were displaced by what has become Japan’s worst natural disaster since 1923, with nearly 20,000 people dead or missing.

The potential for lasting trauma is compounded by the unusual multiple nature of the event: a massive 9.0 earthquake, a devastating tsunami and a nationwide scare over a possible meltdown at a nuclear plant.

Experts say the scale of the loss and disruption for some children would have been almost inconceivable: homes destroyed, friends disappeared, one or both parents maybe killed, or siblings and other close family members missing.

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