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Asia

2011-09-14

ASIA/THAILAND - Post-flood trauma: 600 displaced have committed suicide, but "in the disaster the country finds unity"

Bangkok (Agenzia Fides) – It is a tragedy within the tragedy" for over a week heavy rains have not stopped in Thailand and have caused flooding in 21 provinces in central-south part of the country, provoking 87 deaths and about 30 thousand IDPs. 2% of the displaced, about 600 people, have committed suicide, as a result of an event that has deprived them of everything: family, home, property, labor. As the Ministry of Health informs, about half of the internally displaced persons (13 thousand persons), are suffering from psychiatric problems, depression and post-traumatic syndromes, which have helped to raise the rate of suicides. Some refugees left themselves to die of hunger and thirst, while others were carried away by the the waters which have flooded entire villages, the north area of the capital Bangkok.
"According to the forecast, flooding will continue. The water has almost arrived in Bangkok and people in the city are very concerned", says Fr. Peter Watchasin, a priest from Bangkok and National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Thailand. "Aid has started to move- he adds - the government has launched an appeal to the entire population. I see that there is a great collective effort of solidarity in helping people. Even the Church has launched a special humanitarian aid collection. We hope that this tragic event can help to restore unity to the country, divided by social conflicts and political factions: we are all affected by the same disaster. "
On the worrying phenomenon of suicide, Fr. Peter comments: "The only remedy is to immediately give IDPs a great proof of solidarity, to make them understand that they are not abandoned to themselves. What is in urgent need is: food, medicine, clothing, tents, but also teams of specialist doctors and psychologists to face the impact of the trauma". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 14/09/2011)

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