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Last Updated : Jun 13, 2019 05:26 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Thousands of children in Odisha suffering from trauma after Cyclone Fani: Report

UNICEF India has also started Sneha Sampark in Puri to help the affected kids

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Thousands of children in Odisha are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) more than a month after Cyclone Fani hit the state, according to a report by The Times of India.

The report states that in Puri alone, over 10,000 children below the age of 17 years are undergoing psychosocial counselling after they started showing PTSD symptoms like anxiety and insomnia. The damage due to the cyclone was the greatest in Puri, where it made its landfall.

For instance, 10-year-old Visakha Rao's face would light up every time someone mentioned the Puri beach. After the cyclone, however, even a mention of the beach sends a shiver down her spine, according to the report.

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"We were without food, power and water for several days. I never want to live through that again," Soumendra, one of the children undergoing counselling, told the newspaper. The 12-year-old is scared of venturing out, and suffers from sleepless nights.

"My daughter was inconsolable ever since the storm destroyed her books and toys. That was her little world," Padmini Reddy, the mother of Keshu, an 11-year-old from Penthakata village, said. "I hope she can get back to her usual, chirpy self soon," Reddy added.

The report states that it might take a long time for an entire generation to overcome the trauma that it faced during and in the aftermath of the cyclone. Over 300 counsellors from six non-profit organisations are working in Puri alone to provide help to affected children. The report states that these organisations are being helped by the state government.

"... If the anxiety persists for a prolonged period, they may slip into depression," Suvendu Mishra, general secretary of Indian Psychiatric Society, told the newspaper. Mishra added that around 35 to 40 percent children in the affected area might take between three to six months to recover.

Counsellors in the state are using various methods, such as involving children in activities, to help relax their minds. Medication is also being used for those kids with symptoms of acute depression, according to the report.

UNICEF India has also started Sneha Sampark in Puri to help the affected children. "We launched the 45-day campaign a week after Fani. Unicef India along with an NGO has engaged around 500 volunteers to offer psychosocial counselling in Puri, Kanas, Brahmagiri and Krushaprasad areas," said Alka Gupta, communications specialist of UNICEF India's Odisha team.

Cyclone Fani made landfall in Odisha on May 3, killing 64 people and injuring hundreds. The cyclone also destroyed property and thousands were rendered homeless, according to reports.

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First Published on Jun 13, 2019 05:26 pm
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