Flood victims traumatised

- DURGA LAL KC, Dang
Flood victims traumatised

Sep 2, 2014-

According to a recent study conducted by Women and Children Office (WCO), most flood victims have been found to be suffering from mental problems. The study states that the loss of loved ones, destruction of properties, and their ordeal for survival had left them with a mental scar, and in extreme cases pushing them towards depression.

“Most of the women and elderly, traumatised by the sudden loss of family and properties, spend their days gazing over the damaged structures and return back to the shelters only in the evening,” said Acting Chief Moti Bishwokarma of WCO, stressing on the need for an immediate need for psychological counselling to avoid severe depression.

Bishwokarma said that they had found 135 people, including seven pregnant women, suffering from psychological problems.

“We tried to bring the pregnant women to the district headquarters, out of harm’s way, but they just wouldn’t leave their flood ravaged properties,” he claimed. As women, children, and elderly were among the most affected, Bishwokarma said that the make-shift shelter they stay at could be termed safe. “As the shelters are not completely safe, we are concerned about women susceptible to depression due to prolonged periods of living in a state of fear and possible sexual exploitation.”

The notion of security after being displaced by the floods has also led them to depression. Bishwokarma, however, said they are seeking help of psychological counsellors to get them through the transition.

“It is imperative that we change their surrounding and have been contemplating on coordinating with other agencies to mobilise social counsellors,” he informed.

Sharing a similar view, Chief District Officer (CDO) Dinesh Bhattrai said that psychological problems had manifested in people stranded for longer periods before being rescued. While more than 35 people in Chopriya, Duruwa-9, were trapped atop a small island, 15 in Goltakuri and five in Shreegaun had clung on to the trees. The security personnel were unable to reach the sites in time as transport services had come to a halt after sections of Ghorahi-Tulsipur road were flooded. Even the air rescue mission had been hampered due to poor weather conditions. This led to the security personnel arriving late, leaving the victims with no option but to hold on for their lives the whole day.

Meanwhile, Keshab Raj Pundit, chief of District Public Health Office (DPHO), said that they had deployed health personnel to assist with the psychological and physical problems faced by the victims. “We have setup eight health camps in seven VDCs and each camp has a six member medical team led by a medical officer,” Pundit said.

As there are about 100 pregnant women and 125 infants aged below one year, Pundit claimed that special measures had been put in place for their safety. The floods have claimed 14 lives in the district while four still remain missing. In the aftermath of the floods, 500 houses were destroyed displacing more than 3,000 residents.

Published: 03-09-2014 09:22

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