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Post-traumatic stress disorder affecting women in Leh

Lah , Sun, 26 Jun 2011 ANI

Leh (Ladakh), June 26 (ANI): Even after almost a year, women in Leh district feel haunted by memories of the cloudburst and are struggling to move on in life while depending on medicines provided at occasional health camps.


Overwhelming stories of endurance are emerging out of Leh as they approach the same date in coming weeks, reminding them of a disaster that claimed lives of more than 190 persons and rendered thousands homeless.


Psychological trauma of struggling to save life and homes have taken a toll on the peaceful population in Leh as they recount the horror faced on the intervening night of 5-6 August 2010.


Dichen Palmo's two-year-old son Tenzing Gafir went missing during the flash floods and was rescued by her, engulfed in mud.


She says her family's life is slowly returning to normal and now has put all her efforts into building a better life for her 'miracle baby'.


"He was washed away with me in the floods. I stopped near some debris that had collected in another village and I saw him crying near by, almost drowning in the mud. I took him out. I still cannot forget what happened that day but yes slowly we are able to move on. I thank God for saving my child," said a teary eyed Dichen Palmo.


Unlike Palmo, some women were not so lucky. Konchok Dolma works as a tailor and does odd jobs at a beauty parlour near her village. She has stopped visiting the old shop because it reminds her of a life that she feels holds no meaning after the disaster.


Dolma's 17-year-old daughter was washed away in floods in front of her eyes and now she struggles to cope up with sleepless nights.


"I woke my children up from sleep when the downpour began. That is all I remember. Within minutes, the area was filled with water. The younger child was saved but the older one got washed away with floodwater. Both my daughters were students in Chandigarh. I do not trust life anymore. I rarely sleep at night and stay up till late 3 a.m. or 4 a..m."


The aftermath has brought medical complications like depression, body pain and insomnia affecting especially women and children.


Indo Tibetan Police Force (ITBP) organised a medical camp recently at a shelter home and interacted with many victims who needed desperate medical attention especially for psychological trauma.


"People are still in depression due to that cloudburst. Many people lost their close ones and they are not out of that trauma till now. We help them little bit through medication but mainly behavioural therapy is what we use for their treatment," said Dr Vijay Pal, Assistant Commandant, medical officer, 24 Battalion, ITBP.


The August 6 flash floods triggered by a cloudburst devastated large parts of Ladakh claimed lives of hundreds including 35 army men, 18 Nepalese and Tibetan workers, three French, one Spanish and one Italian tourists.


Five villages, Saboo, Phyang, Nimoo, Choglamsar and Shapoo were the worst hit. Old Leh city was also among the worst affected. (ANI)


Read More: Leh | Konch | Palmo

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