Top Effects of Disasters

Top Effects of Disasters follow

Every year, millions of people are affected by both human-caused and natural disasters. Disaster may be explosion, earthquake, floods, hurricanes, tornados, or fires. In an disaster, you face the danger of death or physical injury. You may also lose your home, possession, and community. Such stressor place you at risk for emotional and physical health problems.

The effects are briefly explained please read out :

Physical Effect :-

The disaster can have adverse physical effect on humans. The physical effect include :

Death :-

Disasters such as earthquakes, floods etc. Can result in death of several people. For instance, the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 resulted in death of 2.3 lakh people across 14 countries including India. In India alone over 10000 people died in that Tsunami. The highest number of deaths was in Indonesia to the extent of over 40000.

In India, the highest ever death toll was recorded in 1769 Bengal Famine to the tune of 10 million of people, followed by the West Bengal Cyclone of 1970 where 5 lakh people their lives.

Physical injury :-

Apart from death toll, several people get injured. For instance, in the Gujarat earthquake of 2001 about 1.7 lakh people were injured. In the Lature earthquake in 1993 over 30000 people were injured.

The physical injury to humans results in mental agony and trauma on the victims. At times, it takes year together to recover from physical injury and sometimes, the injury is life-long.

Outbreak of Diseases :-

Disasters may also lead outbreak of disease. Some of the disaster related diseases include:

Waterborne diseases – Waterborne disease are generally spread through consuming contaminated water but are also transmitted by skin and mucous membrane coming in contact with water, mud and damp vegetation contaminated by rodents in search of higher ground.

Diseases associated with crowding – Due to overcrowding in relief camps or such other places, especially children, are subjected to various forms of communicable diseases like measles, meningitis, and acute respiratory infections.

Vector borne diseases – Vector borne diseases are transmitted by insect and animal bits, most commonly by mosquitoes. After a natural disaster, public health may become vulnerable to vector born diseases due to increased exposure to mosquitoes and animals.

Diseases due to Lack of Nutrition – Lack of nutrition due to loss of agricultural and forest based livelihood leads to the general decline in health of people, especially the scheduled tribes. The tribals generally use traditional home remedies. But the herbal remedies and plants get destroyed due to earthquakes or other disasters.

Psychology Effects :-

Psychiatrists who have studied the mental health effects of disaster have noticed an apparent pattern. The first experience is shock and terror. Then there is a feeling of euphoria that you have survived. Soon after, this feeling melts away into depression and anxiety and the realisation of what has happened and what could have happened.

Stress Related Symptoms :

Disaster can lead to severe stress related symptoms. The stress may be unmanageable for certain individuals. The symptoms of unmanageable stress can be divided into three groups :

Physiological symptoms :

  • Headache
  • Blood pressure
  • Ulcers
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep disorders

Psychological Symptoms :

  • Burnout
  • Emotional instability
  • Depression
  • Moodiness
  • Nervousness and tension
  • Chronic worry

Behaviour Symptoms :

  • Abuse of alcohol or drugs
  • Aggression
  • Absenteeism from work
  • Performance problems
  • Excessive smoking
  • Safety problems.

Stress-Related Risk Factors – A number of factors make it more it more likely that someone will have more severe or longer-lasting stress reactions after disaster:

Severity of Exposure : The amount of exposure to the disaster is highly related to risk of future mental problems. At highest risk are those that go through the disaster themselves. Next are those in close contact with victims. Injury and life threat are the factors that lead most often to mental health problems.

Several studies indicate that at least half of the survivors of major disaster suffer from distress or mental health problems that need clinical care.

Age :-

Adult who are in the age group of 30 to 60 are likely to be more distressed after disasters. Persons in the age group of 30 to 60 have more demands from job and family. In general, children show more severe distress after disasters than the adults.

A study undertaken in USA indicates that there are stronger psychological effects on school-age children than other age-groups:

  • Fear, anxiety
  • Increased hostility with siblings
  • Physical complaints
  • Sleep disorders
  • School problems
  • Social withdrawal
  • Apathy
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Decreased interest in peers

Other Factors :-

There are several other factors that indicates negative psychological effect on account of disasters :

  • Bereavement or death of some close.
  • Injury to self or another family member
  • Life threat
  • Panic, horror or feelings like that during the disaster
  • Being separated from family (especially among children and youth)
  • Great loss of property
  • Displacement

Gender and Family :-

Female suffer more negative effects than the males. Disaster recovery is more stressful when children are present in home. Having a family member in the home who is extremely distressed is responsible to more stress for everyone. Also, conflicts between family members or lack of support in the home make it harder to recover from disasters.

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