IOM Launches Post-Cyclone Psychosocial Project in Myanmar
IOM has launched a project to enhance community capacity to heal
the psychosocial scars left behind by Cyclone Nargis – the
lethal storm that swept through Myanmar’s Irrawaddy delta six
The six-month, £400,000 (USD 650,000) project, which is
funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International
Development (DFID), will be implemented in close collaboration with
local and international partners including the University of
Yangon’s Department of Psychology, the United Nations
Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Save the Children, local NGOs,
Buddhist leaders and local
It aims to provide community-based psychosocial training for up
to 3,000 community and religious leaders and teachers, together
with 150 local and international NGO staff working in the delta
townships of Bogale, Mawlamyinegyune and Pyapon.
It will include training community-level helpers, training
trainers from local and international NGOs, raising awareness of
mental illness and psychosocial distress, and reducing the stigma
attached to it.
"The people we train will bring psychosocial support to village
communities in an area where some 130,000 people died and perhaps
three quarters of all housing was destroyed. We believe that
as many as half a million people in the delta may still need help
to overcome the psychological trauma, in order to start rebuilding
their lives and livelihoods," says IOM Regional Health Manager Dr.
IOM, which also played a leading role in psychosocial
rehabilitation following the 2004 tsunami in Aceh and the 2006
earthquake in Yogyakarta, coordinates the work of the Myanmar
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Technical Working Group set
up within the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Health Cluster
following the cyclone.
IOM sub-offices in Bogale, Pyapon and Mawlamyinegyune, which
currently support ongoing IOM programmes in health and
reconstruction, will also support the psychosocial programme. Five
IOM temporary clinics established in remote areas will also play a
key role in allowing cyclone survivors to access the help offered
by the project.
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