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FEATURE

The Psychological Effect of Crisis





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In light of the Haitian earthquake and the subsequent aid efforts there, and having recently attended a meeting at one of the UN cluster agencies' headquarters in NYC on psychology, development issues and crisis, it was disconcerting to me that there is no current permanent program in place at the UN or among many different aid agencies, or one that can be immediately implemented, to commonly do psychological needs assessments among both crisis-affected populations and for workers in the field.

After food, water, and shelter, such needs are considered a tangential, secondary, or non-essential matters that only get ad hoc attention in rare circumstances. Some agencies or organizations are better than others at recognizing this as a critical need, which is especially true among crisis-affected populations, as the psychological well being--which includes issues of safety, security, and trust--fundamentally affect long-term recovery and development in post-conflict and post-disaster areas. This is indeed something that we will be seeing prove true, and with veritable profundity, during Haiti's post-earthquake reconstruction.  Continued...




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