Thu, Dec 23, 2010 - Page 2 News List

PTSD a worry for many who survived Typhoon Morakot

GETTING BETTER:A survey showed that those who survive disasters still need assistance in putting their lives back together, including with infrastructure

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

About 18 percent of residents in areas severely damaged by Typhoon Morakot in August last year are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and about one person in 10 in those areas displays symptoms of clinical depression, a survey showed yesterday.

Hsu Wen-yau (許文耀) of National Chenchi University said interviews with 385 survivors who still lived in disaster zones showed that 44.6 percent were dissatisfied with the quality of the post-disaster infrastructure provided by the government.

“Most of the transportation systems had resumed operations a year after the 921 Earthquake,” Hsu said. “However, many roads leading to the mountains have yet to reopen following Morakot.”

Of the participants in the survey, 131 were from Baolai Village (寶來) in Liouguei (六龜), Kao-hsiung County, and 227 lived in Namasia (那瑪夏) and Taoyuan (桃源) townships in Kaohsiung County. A little more than 63 percent were Aborigines, with the remainder “Han Chinese.”

Hsu said 88.5 percent of the “Han Chinese” survivors felt the disaster had made it difficult for them to make a living, while about 51 percent of Aborigines felt the same way.

In terms of their physical and mental health, 68.7 percent of “Han Chinese” survivors and 25.1 percent of Aborigines felt their health was deteriorating.

Hsu said the Aborigines were not as vulnerable as people thought and that both “Han Chinese” and Aboriginal survivors needed continuous care and assistance from the government.

On the reconstruction efforts, Hsu said helping survivors find alternative means of making a living was an option.

“The government needs to quickly address the economic issues facing the survivors,” Hsu said.

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