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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 December 2005, 10:35 GMT
Children recovering after tsunami
A girl in school in Aceh, Indonesia
Most children in the tsunami area are now back at school
The majority of children in the nations hit by last year's tsunami are hopeful about the future, the UN has said.

A survey by the UN's children body, Unicef, said some 80% of children in Thailand, Sri Lanka and India were "happy and confident".

But the figure was lower in Indonesia, the nation worst affected by the tsunami, where just over 60% expressed optimism about what was to come.

It said the tsunami's psychological impact was still affecting children.

Unicef said the findings showed children were slowly recovering from the 26 December tsunami but that their lives continued to be affected by it in many ways, and they would need support for some time to come.

Challenging situation

The UN survey polled 1,600 children between the ages of eight and 17.

"Among the four countries, Indonesia... appears to be recovering more slowly," the document said.

"The situation in Indonesia is the most challenging, with one quarter saying that their lives are worse now compared to one to five days after the disaster," it said.

Unicef said the findings reflected the severity of their experiences.

Although the children surveyed in all four countries were directly affected by the tsunami, almost 70% of those in Indonesia had lost at least one family member.

The survey also that many children in the four countries were still fearing another natural disaster and said they needed more practical support, like help to go to school.

Fear of swimming

More than half the children surveyed in India and Sri Lanka were worrying about another disaster.

Three quarters of children in Thailand said they were afraid of losing a loved one.

Across the board many children said they no longer felt happy swimming or playing on the beach.

On a practical level, over 90% of children surveyed were back at school.

But at the same time three quarters said they needed support to continue their education.

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