ASIA/SRI LANKA - International Organisation for Migration treats “invisibile wounds” of tsunami victims in Sri Lanka

Wednesday, 19 January 2005

Colombo(Fides Service) - The International Organisation for Migration has sent a team of experts to Sri Lanka to assess the mental state of the tsunami victims and plan long term assistance in this field. This mission is part of a series of IOM humanitarian programmes in south east Asia where the organisation was present and active even before the recent tragedy.
“After the first moment of emergency the less visible suffering caused by trauma starts to emerge. When food, medical care and shelter are guaranteed the life of the tsunami victims will be conditioned by invisible wounds”, Natale Losi psychotherapist, head of the IOM’s Unit for psycho-social and cultural integration told Fides. “Dealing with trauma means treating a very special type of vulnerability and providing long term psychosocial assistance to prevent the effects of trauma from passing to the next generation”.
The after-effects of natural calamities are very similar to those of war said IOM which has worked with success in similar situations in the Balkans and in Cambodia. Psychosocial intervention to help people affected by natural disasters are peculiar in that there is no identifiable or tangible “enemy” and survivors need help to come to grips with death and grieving. It is essential in this work to identify and contact local religious leaders most important resource for the success of this kind of treatment.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 19/01/2005 righe 24 parole 256)