Looking backward Kumamoto Earthquake 2016

“It was so horrible and scary but I didn’t get any phone call from my family and relatives. I was in pain thinking whether my family really loves me or not”. One of the overseas students with his teary eyes shared this story with me in Kumamoto. During my last visit to Kumamoto I met one of the schoolteacher who shared about the destruction of indoor game hall (taikukan ) and they are waiting for help for its reconstruction since last year. Due to devastation of play hall the student are compelled to play into very congested place. In another place, one of the social worker expressed his dissatisfaction about adjustment problems between earthquake affected and non-affected population in Kumamoto. If community could not find any interventions for this problem very soon, it may lead to serious social problem.

As a clinical psychologist of JISP, I am involving in psychosocial counseling since last year and supporting to the earthquake affected especially to the foreign residents residing in Kumamoto. I got an opportunity to interact and communicate with many social workers, teachers and stake holders during this period. I visited Kumamoto in the same week of earthquake occurred. I had seen lot of NGOs and INGOs working there recently after occurrence of an earthquake. Many NGOs and INGOs attended in cluster meeting as well. However, most of them have already phased out their programs. It’s not rare because same thing had happened in East Japan earthquake and Nepal earthquake. Generally, during and after a disaster everyone suffers from different psychological distresses like anxiety, stress and PTSD. But in most of the cases, these problems can be healed with time itself. If such symptoms longer to six months or more than that they need to have special care and counseling to heal the problems. So we need to provide psychosocial counseling and support to those victims who are facing psychosocial problems. This is the actual time to do something from our side to lessen the problems in which they are going through. The More psychosocial support is needed for the victims and their family to heal/recover the wounds of earthquake. Such series of earthquake has left many in devastating condition, especially those living in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures. 2017 mark the first anniversary of the destructive Kumamoto Earthquake, which was occurred on April 2016. I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the victims of this tragic natural disaster. Even after one year of devastating earthquake Kumamoto still need more psychosocial supports and we will continue our efforts and supports to save beautiful hearts.




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