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Kids in 'deep loss and grief' after NSW and Qld floods

When it rains in disaster-ravaged areas, some families will keep children home from school in fear of being separated by floods.

Some children in NSW Northern Rivers schools who once loved the sound of rain now hate it and become agitated and disruptive when they hear a downpour.

Young students in Queensland's southeast will ask their teachers "is nanna's house going to be OK" or "will it flood again".

Unicef Australia and Royal Far West, a charity that works to improve the wellbeing of rural kids, heard these stories from school communities as part of a program to better understand the needs of children after disasters.

Students who lived through the east coast floods variously regressed, became very clingy, had nightmares and sleep problems, relived trauma through games and drawings, cried easily and took on their parent's stress and anxiety, according to the organisations' report.

Many families in both states lived in unsafe and insecure housing, including tents and caravans, or moved between different forms of accommodation up to eight times.

In light of the findings, Royal Far West is providing a post-disaster wellbeing program for children under 12 at 30 schools and pre-schools across both states later in the term, funded by the federal health department.

"We know there is a lack of mental health services available in these flood-affected communities and are keen to get out into these communities to make an impact," the charity's chief executive Jacqueline Emery said.

The report also found Indigenous children and those from lower-socio economic backgrounds were badly affected by housing shortages after the floods.

The floods damaged or destroyed many safe play spaces such as skate parks and pools, leaving children feeling disengaged and bored.

Young people felt deep grief and trauma over the loss of pets including one Queensland girl who watched her horse float away.

"Children's voices are important and should play an essential role in helping shape policies and programs which affect them," the report said.

"To make disaster planning and recovery more effective it must include the perspective, experiences, and needs of children."

Teachers reported going beyond their usual duties by delivering education packs to students' homes, providing breakfast and lunch to families who couldn't afford food and extending extra emotional and social support.

Some suffered vicarious trauma and felt pressure to "be OK" for their students.

"Children will continue to feel the impact over the coming months and years," the report said.

"Children, caregivers, and community members have displayed a range of responses because of their experiences of the flooding, and require support to build their resilience and recover."