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26,000 workers to tackle post-tsunami trauma

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January 06, 2005 17:54 IST

To help tsunami victims combat the severe psychological trauma, as many as 26,000 volunteers in the Andaman and Nicobar islands and Tamil Nadu are being trained by counsellors from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences in Bangalore.

Since the devastation in the Andamans, where out of the 38 islands 30 have been affected, is immense, it is not possible to provide psychiatric help with a handful of volunteers, director and vice-chancellor of NIMHANS Dr D Nagaraja told PTI.

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It is not just the post-traumatic stress disorder which shows up in the victims much later but various psychological problems like acute shock and depression which need immediate attention, he said.

In view of this, three teams have already been dispatched to Port Blair and have started identifiying representatives of various voluntary agencies there who can be trained, he said.

The picturesque islands, which once attracted tourists in droves, stand battered by the gigantic waves, with the official toll nearing 10,000 with more than 6,000 still missing.

The islands experienced nine more tremors on Wednesday.

Two more teams, comprising psychiatrists are leaving for Nagapattinam, the other Tsunami ravaged coastal town near Kanniyakumari, he said.

NIMHANS has been the first to provide psychiatric help and direct care during calamities like the Bhopal Gas Leak in 1984-85, super cyclone in Orissa, Latur quake in Maharashtra and the earthquake in Kutch region in Gujarat, Nagaraja said.

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