Disaster And Depression


Narayan Prasad Ghimire


The landslides and floods caused by the torrential rains over the days across the country have resulted in huge loss of lives and property. Deaths and damage to homes and other property have left people in great panic. Obstruction of highways by landslides has badly hampered the rescue and relief operations.

According to a news report, a hilly district in the mid-western region of the country, Pyuthan, witnessed the deaths of as many as 38 people in just two days last week. The number of those gone missing in the disasters is about half that number. Pyuthan has suffered the worst in the early phase of the monsoon. As the monsoon will continue for some months, the number of deaths, missing persons and destruction is likely to go up. It means the people who have survived the calamities will have to go through more days of suffering, panic, paucity and poverty.

The Nepalis have yet to recover from the devastation of the great earthquake that shook the country on April 25 last year, followed by terrible aftershocks. One after the other, catastrophes are crippling the lives of the Nepali people. After the earthquake, many people are living harrowing lives. The loss of their near and dear ones and destruction of properties have not only impoverished but also traumatised them as well.

It would be relevant to mention here a recent report that showed that 32 per cent of all persons interviewed in the three quake-hit districts were found to be suffering from depression. The survey conducted by Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation (TPO Nepal) and International Medical Corps-Kathmandu in Kathmandu, Sindhupalchowk and Gorkha – the districts worst hit by the earthquake - came up with these alarming findings.

Among the total persons interviewed, 30.8 per cent were found to be suffering from anxiety while 20.4 per cent had fallen into drug abuse. Suicidal tendency was reported among 10.9 per cent while 5.2 per cent were found involved in harmful activities.

This shows that disasters create multifarious problems among the survivors. Obviously, tens of thousands of Nepalis are living miserable lives after the devastating earthquake. The water-induced disasters – floods and landslides - have only added more woes to the already wounded people.

The state and the concerned stakeholders need to bring the life of the people to normalcy. Of course, those killed in the disaster can’t be brought back to assuage the wounds of the relatives, but various measures can be adopted to alleviate their pain. Counselling is one of the effective tools to normalise the behaviour of the people in agony.

Although the government conducts rescue and relief operations following a disaster, it does not provide counselling to the needy ones. When counselling is provided in person and in groups from time to time, the people can gradually shed their pain and resume normal life.





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