The health department will take up from Monday counselling of the villagers who have survived the Malin landslide. Teams from BJ Medical College and the Regional Mental Hospital at Yerawada would interact with the survivors, said Dr H H Chavan, Deputy Director, Pune circle.
“It is not just the survivors who are in a state of shock but the relatives and friends of the victims are also yet to come to terms with such a colossal tragedy,” said Chavan, adding that they could go into a state of depression and “hence we need to help them get back on their feet”.
While the department has launched measures to check water contamination and prevent vector-borne and water-borne diseases, health officials said they would now focus on counseling too.
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Dr Alka Pawar, head of the Department of Psychiatry at B J Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital, said their counsellors had earlier interacted with the survivors of the Latur earthquake. “What they need is a sympathetic ear. Somebody who can just listen to their grievances instead of talking about the natural tragedy,” she said.
Dr Vilas Bhailume, medical superintendent of the Regional Mental Hospital, said they would send a team of social workers and counsellors to initially identify the magnitude of the problem and then decide upon the line of treatment. “Most will be in a state of shock but once they come out of it, the survivors need to understand how to deal with the problem,” said Bhailume.
The counseling will continue over a period of time. Dr Mohan Agashe, principal investigator of the project on health consequences of natural disaster and who had sent teams of psychologists and counselors to help the Latur earthquake-affected persons, said: “When we reached there with our psychologists and counselors, the affected people saw that we had nothing in cash or kind, so they did not want to meet us. But we divided our teams and went to the hutments to individually talk to these people. That is when they opened up and all they wanted from us was that we should return. This was the method via active listening skills where we helped the survivors as they got a chance to speak about their own experience. Clear thinking then soon evolved and helped them get on with their lives.”