Saturday, June 22, 2013

National Tragedy in India

It is a sad time for India, where over 1000 people are dead and many more are missing. There are about 40,000 people still stranded who went for pilgrimage in the northern India. In addition, there are tens of thousands of family and friends all over the nation that are waiting to hear about the fate of their dear ones. Everyone who sees it, on the ground or on TV,  is affected by it.

This is a national tragedy. My heart goes out for the people who are suffering, displaced and waiting to hear about their dear ones. This is a time when the people of the nation must come together to support those who are affected.

People like Mr. Kukreti, who survived the water surge and witnessed people dying around them may have life long psychological consequences. Here's a glimpse of what he experienced in the temple he was in, it survived the assault, but when the water receded after a cold night of prayer, Mr. Kukreti found himself standing among piles of dead pilgrims. Everywhere he looked he saw dead men, women, and children" (The New York Times). In other channels like Aaj Tak, people are reporting how they witnessed death. These experiences would require long term support specifically from friends and family.  

My salute to Indian military for their heroic efforts to save the lives of these people. Their efforts are commendable. Next big task for the government and NGO community would be to provide psychological and social support to the survivors of this catastrophic event and their dear ones to facilitate their recovery and mitigate negative psychological impact. 

Key resource that can provide technical assistance in this effort is the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS). NIMHANS experts have years of experience of providing support to survivors of disasters all over the nation. They do not wait for people to call in to seek assistance but have a community based approach. They build local capacity in simple skills like psychological first aid and promote outreach for those who may require help. Hopefully, they are receiving resources and space to offer help to the needy. 

Indian Red Cross Society is also working very hard to support the recovery efforts and reunite the separated families. When I worked with Red Cross in India, we collaborated with NIMHANS to provide support to survivors of Orissa super-cyclone, Bhuj earthquake, and other disasters. Red Cross Movement also has some simple resources that can be used to provide training to local people. One can download these materials free of cost from the website of the Red Cross' Psychosocial Support Center: 

In addition to the survivors, military personnel and other first responders would also require support to process what they witnessing. Let us pray that peace be upon the affected people and first responders who are working hard to save lives and search for survivors. 


1 comment:

  1. Indeed very disheartening,praying the ones who are still stuck there...


Where Is My Mami?

This poem is based on conversations with people during my recent trip to Texas and desk review of what is going on in the US since the Zer...