Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 40  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 414-419

Children's reactions to flood disaster in Kashmir

1 Department of Psychiatric Social Work, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, K.D. Medical College Hospital and Research Center, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Fahim Ul Hassan
Department of Psychiatric Social Work, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_571_17

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Background: The flood disaster of 9th–10th September 2014 wreaked havoc in the Jammu and Kashmir region of India. Incessant rains and deluge claimed 283 lives and damaged 2.53 lakh houses. This article presents the findings of the psychosocial care team from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru, India, during the early phase of disaster. Materials and Methods: The team assessed posttraumatic stress symptoms of 64 child survivors from six villages of two districts struck by floods using Children's Revised Impact of Event Scale (CRIES)-8 and qualitative narrations. Results: Children showed high levels of intrusion and avoidance in the aftermath of floods. Both boys and girls showed moderate to severe level of psychological impact on the domains of CRIES-8. The narrations by the children centred on the theme of “water” and “enjoyment in seeing lots of water;” followed by “fearing of the parent's life,” later on “fear of their own life,” and subsequently to avoidance to go near the river and nightmares like “floating in the water.” Conclusion: Disasters immensely impact children because of their particular stage of psychological and social development. This highlights the need for psychosocial interventions to minimize the impact of disasters on children at the earliest using simple psychosocial care techniques by employing available community-based manpower.

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