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Cyclone Mocha leaves fear and anxiety in its wake

Emergency Health

HI offers psychological first aid to help people feel recognized, valued, and safe after Cyclone Mocha hits Bangladesh.

Three men outside a shelter constructed of bamboo and tarps

HI staff speak with a man at Cox's Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh | © HI

Following the passage of Cyclone Mocha, Humanity & Inclusion's teams in Bangladesh have already provided psychological first aid to 1,682 people in 19 camps throughout Cox's Bazar. Among those helped are 359 people with disabilities and 220 children. 

Mohammad Sajjadul Hassan, Mental Health & Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Officer, HI Bangladesh:  

As I’ve worked in Rohingya refugee camps for five years, I have faced several emergencies. I’ve provided mental health and psychosocial support services in fire incidents, flash floods, and more.

HI teams have been providing our MHPSS services in both phases of Cyclone Mocha–prevention and response.  

We faced a range of questions before and after the incident. Before the cyclone hit, many of the people we serve were concerned about the potential scale of the damage: “How big will it be?”; “What would we do if the damage extended far beyond what we’ve predicted"; "We are terrified."  

People were concerned about their houses, as they are not built with strong materials, and can be damaged at any time. Also, they felt helpless, especially families with children or with members with disabilities. They were worried about how their family would relocate to seek safe shelter. 

Following the cyclone, our teams met with affected populations again. They were keen to understand: “How much time will we need to recover from the event and the damage it caused?”; “Do we have anything more to be afraid of?” 

Farhana Naznin, Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Technical Specialist, HI Bangladesh:  

Over the past two years, I have experienced different kinds of emergencies in Cox’s Bazar refugee camps, including a massive fire, flash floods and landslides. 

In the wake of any disaster, such as Cyclone Mocha, psychological first aid is crucial in addressing the immediate emotional needs of individuals.  

Climate disasters can cause severe destruction and loss and make people directly experience trauma, fear and anxiety.  

Psychological first aid is crucial to help people cope with this immediate psychological impact and prevent more severe mental health issues from developing in the following weeks and months.  

This is even more important when we provide support to individuals like the Rohingya refugees, who have already experienced multiple, cumulative trauma, including violence, persecution and forced displacement. Security and climate incidents affecting the camps bring additional trauma. Our support helps them feel recognized, valued, and safe again. 

Date published: 05/17/23


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