Mental health problems seen among flood victims of Dang

- DURGA LAL KC, Dang
Mental health problems seen among flood victims of Dang

Oct 9, 2014-

In the aftermath of the recent floods, one or the other kind of mental instability has been observed among the victims. Bhagiram Chaudhary, 53, of Chaupariya, Duruwa-9, who is one of the flood victims, said that whenever he is left alone, he has trouble remembering things and feels as if his head is spinning.

Like Chaudhary, those who lost their family members including valuable personal property to the floods have been showing signs of mental instability, said local Tej Bahadur Thapa.

“Almost all the heads of the displaced families seem depressed and wear a worn out expression,” Thapa said.  Stating that he gets goose bumps recalling the incident that rendered his family landless, Thapa who had relocated to Dang from Salyan nine years ago in order to make life easy for his wife, an asthma patient, has been left shaken by the incident. Thapa said that members of 20 among the 35 households displaced by the floods have shown signs of mental disorder and depression.

According to the Women and Children Office (WCO), which works in the field of disaster relief, the tragic event which forced many people to flee their homes after having lost their loved ones and property have been badly traumatized. “With their hopes dashed and desires crushed, women and elderly gaze endlessly at their houses destroyed by the floods,” said Chief Moti Bishwokarma of the WCO. Stressing that the victims of the recent natural calamities are in immediate need of psychological counselling, Bishwokarma said that the risk of victims falling under depression and losing their balance was very real. So far, 135 people have been identified with various mental disorders, Bishwokarma said. Meanwhile, as the location of the temporary shelters too could not be deemed absolutely safe, Bishwokarma said that absence of proper shelter has aggravated their psychological condition.

Even though social facilitators have been have been deployed to counsel the victims, it has had but a little impact on the victims, said one of the victims, Kalpana Thapa of Chaupariya.

“Due to lack of proper accommodation facilities, many flood victims like us are forced to sleep on the floor, making our condition even worse. And we get regular nightmares about the incident, depriving us of a peaceful sleep,” Thapa said, recalling her ordeal when she had to run with a two-month old infant on her arms to save herself after her house was swept away by the flood.

More than 35 people of Chaupariya, Duruwa-9 had been stuck on a small island after the floods triggered by incessant rainfall swepty away their homes. They were later rescued after almost a day. While the floods that hit their rural settlement claimed 15 lives, the whereabouts of three people who remain missing in the incident still remains unknown while more than 500 houses were destroyed in the incident displacing over 3,000 people.

Meanwhile, Chief Keshab Raj Pundit of District Public Health Office said that they had deployed psychosocial counsellors in the flood hit areas in accordance to the need of the victims. Pundit said that their aim was to understand the problems of the victims in order to help them adapt to their situation.

Published: 10-10-2014 09:10

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