At least 50,000 people have been killed in the devastating earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria in 2020. The earthquakes, which were both located along the North Anatolian Fault, were magnitude 7.7 and 6.8 at their peak. They caused untold destruction, with entire towns and villages being leveled, and the death toll is expected to continue to climb.
The situation is especially dire for the survivors. In addition to the personal tragedies they have endured, many survivors face the grim reality of being left homeless and facing the harsh winter without proper shelter. Facing these daunting odds, these survivors must grapple with a wide range of physical and mental health concerns.
The immediate aftermath of the earthquake has also left survivors with a range of practical concerns including the need for access to clean water and sanitation facilities, as well as access to essential medical services. For those lucky enough to have insurance, the cost of accessing necessary medical treatment can be prohibitively expensive.
In response the U.N. has allocated substantial funds for humanitarian assistance and is expanding its operations in the affected area. International aid workers are mobilizing to bring food, water, and medical supplies to survivors in the region. The governments of Turkey and Syria are also offering assistance, with both countries deploying military personnel and medical personnel to the affected area.
The road ahead for the survivors of this devastating disaster is long and challenging. At this stage, the survivors need all the help they can get. Those wishing to do so can lend their support by donating funds to international aid organizations active in the region. While the survivors continue to struggle with the immense loss, their resilience and will power will help them rise above their present situation and move forward. [ad_1]
The earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria has taken a psychological toll on survivors. NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly speaks with trauma psychologist Dr. Alexandra Chen about the earthquake’s psychological effects.
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
In accordance to the United Nations, the dying toll from very last month’s earthquake in Turkey and Syria has now surpassed 50,000 – 50,000. And then you think of how quite a few individuals continue to alive are impacted by that range – the family members and mates grieving, the persons left without a house or the psychological toll on first responders who rushed in to support. Very well, to chat about the psychological effect of the earthquake, we’re joined by Dr. Alexandra Chen. She is a trauma psychologist. She’s been doing the job with Syrians for the last ten years, which includes all those who fled Syria’s civil war. Dr. Chen, welcome to ALL Matters Thought of.
ALEXANDRA CHEN: Thank you, Mary Louise.
KELLY: Notify me what you’re hearing from your individuals in the area who have been impacted by the earthquake. How are they coping? What form of matters are they telling you?
CHEN: So the shock of suffering from the earthquake – for some of them, they ended up not informed at initial what it was and had been afraid that it may possibly be some thing else, an assault or a bomb, and has even, in excess of the final three months, not fully worn off and not only simply because there have been various quakes and aftershocks due to the fact, but also for the reason that of the traumatic reminiscences that the tremors and losing their households and getting displaced and the expertise of obtaining to sleep on the streets and be quite insecure has induced.
KELLY: Hmm. So an earthquake is just the latest in the string of compounding traumas that some of your individuals have expert?
CHEN: Yes, however. As a single of them explained to me, it really is like he has been in a continuous storm. And he was an unaccompanied refugee minimal himself at the age of 15, 10 several years ago, and fled from Syria to Turkey on his own – in some way built it and survived. But he stated that he has never ever felt a instant where he is not in the storm.
Give me a very little bit extra details about just some of the practical factors that you happen to be expressing to aid individuals get by way of this speedy second of trauma ahead of they can even commence to begin pondering about therapeutic. I mean, get me into that dialogue.
CHEN: Guaranteed. We generally counsel dad and mom to give little ones various responsibilities and tasks. It aids them to really feel a lot less helpless and to truly feel a minor bit much more involved in ways that are constructive. And so even, you know, if you assigned a kid – their career is to consider care of all the telephones and make positive that they’re charged. That minimal job in crisis setting is a pretty vital one, and they can truly feel a little bit of pride and emphasis instead of just being overwhelmed by the chaos.
We also give a ton of – how to say – assist in phrases of the practicalities of getting a parent in these options. I am going to give you an illustration. So with a whole lot of them who have been, and proceed to be, sleeping – however – on the streets, their circumstances are quite perilous, and there have been reports of child trafficking as perfectly. So the mom and dad are incredibly nervous, clearly, and no one has truly been able to snooze. So just one of the useful items we say to mothers and fathers is acquire turns sleeping.
KELLY: I comprehend you also see sufferers who are front-line staff…
KELLY: …You know, who raced in, who are dealing with trauma of a diverse sort. What kind of assistance are you capable to give them?
CHEN: So in these settings, our information for front-line workers are, you know, as we usually say, you cannot pull from an empty cup. The other is getting modest methods. You know, I deliver them five-moment meditations – typically these are things that we have practiced collectively in session – as nicely as a reminder of re-centering and currently being capable to uncover their strength in a minute that – exactly where almost everything feels extremely out of control and then also getting, I consider, forgiving of on their own in moments where – there’s so lots of of them will say, what if? Properly, you know, I heard a voice there underneath the rubble, but I was not positive. And I did not emphasize it as a precedence, and, experienced we gotten there speedy, you know, could we have saved additional individuals? You will find a whole lot of self-question in these times. And at times, you know, they snap at every other due to the fact they are so pressured and annoyed and underneath-slept. So I imagine just kindness with a person one more offers a piece of therapeutic in a pretty hard time, entirely.
KELLY: Dr. Alexandra Chen is a trauma psychologist based in London, who travels to see clients in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon. Thank you so considerably for your time and for your operate.
CHEN: Thank you so considerably. I respect it.
Copyright © 2023 NPR. All rights reserved. Stop by our web site phrases of use and permissions internet pages at www.npr.org for even more facts.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text could not be in its closing sort and may perhaps be up-to-date or revised in the foreseeable future. Precision and availability may possibly range. The authoritative document of NPR’s programming is the audio record.