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Expert stresses mental health care for rescuers in China's snow havoc
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09:08, February 05, 2008

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As the unprecedented snow havoc continues to plague China, the psychological health of rescuers in the snow disaster needs extra care, says an expert with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

"They are rescuers, but at the same time they are also victims. It is very possible for them to experience frustration and mental exhaustion under the long-term working condition," said Wang Erping, expert with the Psychology Institute under the CAS.

Since the snow, the heaviest in decades, began to hit China's eastern, central and southern regions on Jan. 10, millions of rescuers, including soldiers, paramilitary members and the armed police, have been mobilized for disaster relief work. Many have been suffering exhaustion after working consecutively for days.

Wang said, besides the mental health consultation from professional psychologists, social supports from leaders and colleagues will also play an important part in ensuring a healthy mental state.

Experts encourage the rescuers and victims to express whatever problems they have in mind and exchange experiences in fights against the snow. Leaders will encourage the workers to keep it in mind the meaning and results of their own efforts.

The snow has so far killed at least 60 people and affected 7.8 million, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, and forced nearly 1.76 million to relocate.

In addition, Wang suggests the government keep correct and timely information updated on the snow disaster via radio, TV, mobile phone, Internet and other media to prevent rumors from spreading.

Source: Xinhua

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