January 16, 2005
Post Traumatic Stress - PTSD
(Post Traumatic Stress often results from traumatic situations such as war, disasters, and childhood sexual abuse. Here is an article from the Tsunami zone.)
From Santha Oorjitham
KINNIYA (Sri Lanka), Jan 15 (Bernama) -- Nine-year-old A. Mujib dreams of his two sisters who were killed in the Dec 26 tsunami and wakes up crying.
He shadows his 17-year-old brother A. Musammil closely at the Periakinniya displaced persons centre at Kinniya Central College National School in Sri Lanka's northeastern Trincomalee district.
Their mother had already been pronounced dead and tied up to be taken for burial when they saw her toes moving and realised she was alive. She was taken to the hospital and has since recovered.
Musammil is afraid to go back to his job as a fisherman until he is sure the sea is safe. He had to drop out of school after only one year to earn money for the family. Although he is still a teenager, he talks like a much older man.
"I am the breadwinner for our family," he told Bernama. "I've already lost two sisters. If anything happens to me, what will happen to my family?"
His disabled father can't work and his mother works as a cleaner about once a week. He also has a 15-year-old brother and another seven-year-old sister to look after.
At the camp of 2,500 run by Kinniya Jammiyathul Ulama (KJU), there are no counsellors to listen to the children talk about their fears and their grief.
Some local social workers arrange simple games for them while the children have improvised a slide out of a school desk and chair.
Asked how he and his brother feel after the tragedy, Musammil shrugged. "What is there to think about? It's our destiny."
The children at the centre could suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
"We need counsellors," said KJU coordinator Saraf Din, who is also the principal of the college. "There are so many people living with grief."
Women Empowerment and Social Welfare Minister Sumedha G. Jayasena announced yesterday that her ministry would send 120 trained counsellors to tsunami rehabilitation centres in Trincomalee, eastern Ampara and southern Hambantota, Matara and Galle, according to the "Daily News" today.
Nearly 500 people in Kinniya were killed by the tsunami, which is about half of the deaths in Trincomalee district. One hundred and fifty women were widowed and 100 children orphaned. One hundred people are still missing.
Water pipes were broken and water supply has not been restored to Kinniya, although some water is trucked in.
The government has supplied food but Saraf said it is not enough. Survivors of the tsunami also need clothing but he said they would not wear used clothing for fear of disease.
And whatever is sent should be on a large scale, for example, 5,000 sarungs, otherwise it would be difficult to distribute.
The principal told a visiting Malaysian Red Crescent Society fact-finding team that the centre needs medication and first aid training.
Meanwhile, the college cannot reopen until the tsunami survivors have moved to temporary sites elsewhere. It needs new computers, classroom furniture and toilets, which have all been damaged by the influx of 6,000 people at the height of the crisis.
As for the two brothers, Mujib is waiting for school to start and needs new books and a school bag.
"If I had a bicycle, I could go around selling vegetables as I did before," said Musammil.
Posted by Nancy at January 16, 2005 10:29 AM