Turkey-Syria quake survivors showing signs of PTSD, say doctors

Doctors at a Turkish hospital in the southern city of Iskenderun say they are treating a growing number of patients with anxiety and panic attacks after last week’s earthquake.

“In the beginning the patients… were the ones who had injuries under the rubble… now, many patients come in with post-traumatic stress disorder, when the confusion they have about the ground earthquake and what they saw.” said the Indian. Major Beena Tiwari. He added, many people came with fear attacks. The death toll in Turkey and Syria has exceeded 37,000, the earthquake and its aftershocks have destroyed entire villages in both countries, leaving survivors homeless and freezing, and many struggling ability to find a safe place and keep things clean.

The extent of the injuries sustained by survivors is immense. Some were pulled from the rubble to spend hours in the cold and dark to find their family members dead or missing, their neighborhoods reduced to rubble of broken concrete.

Tiwari was one of a group of 100 Indian experts who set up a field hospital to treat survivors of the earthquake, one of the worst in Turkey’s modern history, after the hospital was destroyed. in the region. PTSD is caused by extreme stress, fear, or trauma, and people with PTSD may relive the trauma through nightmares and flashbacks, and may have trouble sleeping and concentrating.

A Turkish health official said that people are beginning to understand what happened to them after this period of panic. Across the border from Syria, the working office of Unicef ​​gave the children “psychological first aid”, encouraging them to play and feel comfortable.

Ahmad, nine, was in the hostel. “With any loud voice or movement, he gets scared. Sometimes when he sleeps, he wakes up and says ‘earthquake,'” said his father Hassan Moath. Infectious diseases

Iskenderun Hospital Director Yaduvir Singh said they are also seeing many patients with infectious diseases and upper respiratory tract infections, and thousands of people living in tents outside during the winter will suffer. very much.

“At first we had a lot of trauma patients, who were buried in the rubble for a long time, 72 hours, for 90 hours,” he said. “One person we have to amputate to save his life… there is life-saving, life-saving surgery. Now the profile of the case is changing.

The World Health Organization has requested $43 million to provide trauma and rehabilitation care, essential drugs, psychological and psychological support, and to maintain health services in Turkey. “The needs are great, increasing every hour by the hour. About 26 million people in these two countries are in need of humanitarian assistance,” WHO European Director Hans Kluge said in a statement. “Only more than a week after this terrible tragedy, there is a growing concern about health problems arising from the cold, hygiene and sanitation and the spread of infectious diseases,” he said.

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