Tsunami Trauma Management

02 India34 India (Fox)Tsunami 2004

Impact of Asian/Indian ocean tsunami 2004 on mental health. Rebuilding the shattered lives and minds of the people who lost friends, family, homes and their livelihoods may take years. About 90 percent of the survivors were expected to feel depression, grief and sadness after the disaster but eventually recover and live normal lives. The other 10 percent were expected to develop serious mental disorders such as severe depression, anxiety, problems related to drug or alcohol abuse and post-traumatic stress disorders. The most vulnerable were children who lost both parents, women who lost close family members and people that had psychological problems before the disaster. In the tsunami disaster so many people were affected that even if a small number of them had mental problems that still added up to a lot of people.

In February 2006, AP reported: More than a year after the tsunami in Southeast Asia, many of the most vulnerable survivors are plagued by discrimination in aid distribution, forced relocation and violence against women, according to a report by the NGOs, including ActionAid International. Within the countries—Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and the Maldive— some of the most vulnerable groups are women, children and ethnic minorities, the report said. Field research involving 50,000 survivors found widespread instances of land grabby to serve commercial interests, shoddy construction in government-sponsored housing projects, and uneven distribution of aid packages among devastated industries. The report described how women were taken advantage of and denied access to sanitary napkins and underwear because distribution of these items was under the control of men.

The shortage of women after the disaster was linked to reports of rape and forced marriage. There were even some reports of young women being raped by men who rescued them. There were also reports of orphans and other children being snatched up for illegal adoptions and use as child prostitutes.

Many children were deeply traumatized and refused to speak or spoke very little. They clung to whoever was near them. They refused to play with other children and jumped whenever they heard a loud noise such as plane taking off.