As bushfires ravaged the hills around Christchurch in February, families were forced to flee their homes.
Children who had experienced the 2011 earthquakes that devastated the city, and regular tremors since then, were dealing with yet another disaster.
Rosara Ward, 10, and her family were evacuated from their home in the middle of the night.
"They were banging on our window saying to evacuate, we saw the fire on the hill. It was big and looked angry, like it wanted to destroy things," she said.
Coping tools for kids
- Try to re-establish a routine as soon as possible
- Find substitutes or alternatives for belongings or pets
- Be aware of repeated exposure to the disaster in the media and offer context to help understand it is not happening again
- Remember children of all ages need support after trauma
Her classmate, Ruby Geddes, could not get home after school.
"We could see lots of smoke and helicopters. It was scary," she said.
Neither could Mya Bennett, whose family moved overseas after the 2011 earthquakes and had only just returned.
"I was upset because my precious belongings were there," she said.
"I hoped our house wouldn't burn down because if it reached our house the whole of Christchurch would be threatened."
Chris Watson, 10, left home that afternoon with his brother and their mother, to avoid the stress of having to leave in the middle of the night.
"I was a little bit nervous, but I hoped our house wasn't going to burn down," he said.
The children are students at Cashmere Primary School — five minutes drive from the bushfires that were burning in the Port Hills.
Two Cashmere Primary students lost their home in the blaze and, for weeks, eight others had to pass through a police cordon as authorities monitored "hot spots" that threatened to flare up again.
So how do children living in a 'disaster zone' cope?
Rosara, Ruby, Mya and Chris all experienced the 2011 earthquake and live among Christchurch's damaged buildings and homes.
They said the burnt hills were a daily reminder of the fires too.
"The fires got a few hundred metres from our house and now the hills opposite us are just completely black," Ruby said.
But they are resilient; and their parents and teachers are working hard to support them.
All four children said the earthquake damage that had left whole city blocks empty or destroyed did not upset them.
"It feels normal now because we've lived with it since the earthquake," Rosara said.
Lisa Gibbs from the University of Melbourne has spent years researching the impact of Victoria's Black Saturday bushfires on children and families.
She said the majority of children who had experienced a natural disaster coped well, but there could be a delayed reaction from others.
"Stories kept coming up about children not coping, particularly if there were exams or a transition to a new school or sport club," she said.
"Sometimes families recognised that was part of the aftermath of the disaster, but others didn't make the connection because it was years later."
What about dealing with younger children?
Associate Professor Gibbs said many preschool age or younger children did not get the support services they needed after the Black Saturday bushfires.
She said that might have been due to a shortage of services, people hoping they would forget, or just not knowing what to do.
"It's crucial to remember children of all ages, not just the older ones," she said.
Anxiety from the Christchurch earthquakes resurfaces
Cashmere Primary deputy principal Kerry Hall, who lost her home in the 2011 earthquakes, said the fires had reignited her 12-year-old daughter's anxiety.
"My daughter said to me, 'You said this was a safe house, but it isn't safe because we can't stay in it'," Ms Hall said.
"She's absolutely fine during the day but at night she starts to worry what might happen, so we're doing a lot of work to reassure her."
"My 8-year-old was distraught too, because he didn't have any of his special belongings."
Associate Professor Gibbs said establishing a sense of safety was crucial.
"When children experience a major disaster event they realise their parents can't keep them safe," she said.
She said it was important to build resilience in children by talking them through what had happened and helping them understand any ongoing risk and how to their family would respond in another disaster.
The risks of long-term exposure
Justin Kenardy from the University of Queensland's Recover Injury Research Centre said experiencing a string of disasters, or living in an area that has been damaged long-term, could increase the risk of emotional distress for children.
He said re-establishing stability during and after a disaster was crucial.
"The worst thing is for children to be separated from their supports, whether that's their parents or friends," he said.
"If parents and caregivers can provide a sense of safety and resilience in those situations, even with meals and bedtimes, then the kids will for the most part be OK."
Associate Professor Gibbs said, after the Black Saturday bushfires, it was a comfort to some children to stay in familiar surroundings, even if they were damaged.
But she said others needed to move away from the place they had experienced trauma.
"They didn't want to be confronted by the black trees — they wanted to go somewhere that felt safe but was fresh and positive," she said.
How are adults coping?
Ms Hall said parents across Christchurch were working hard to reinforce the message: "Things can be replaced, but people can't."
But she said adults had to work hard to deal with natural disasters too.
Coping tools for adults
- Re-establish continuity, structures and support in your lifestyle
- Be aware of behaviour and reactions around children
- Be vigilant about long-term mental health
- Get support from friends, family or a professional if needed
"I think a lot of adults are on high alert a lot of the time. They're working at that fight-or-flight mode," she said.
"It's been earthquakes for so long and then the Kaikoura earthquake [in November 2016] and that damage and the fire was another potential threat.
"I think there's a lot of adults in Christchurch who are really stressed by it."
Professor Kenardy said talking it through with friends, family and colleagues was an important coping tool.
"Using the support systems you have, not to make it go away, but make sense of it," he said.
"One person might say, 'I had a bad night last night, I was thinking about this', and the other will empathise or share their own story, which helps normalise their experience."