Lakeside

Devastating International Trauma

The fatal earthquake in Morocco and floods in Libya have triggered massive global humanitarian support, though trauma recovery will take decades.
Libya flood 9/2023, courtesy of NBC News.

In the past few days we have witnessed two international tragedies. The 6.8 earthquake in Morocco has killed over 2900 individuals and displaced thousands from their homes. The floods in Libya have killed over 8,000 individuals with 10,000 still missing. These tragedies are more than any of us can comprehend. What kind of stress response do people have when they are incapable to count the numbers of deaths of their fellow citizens? I just can’t imagine the grief, the loss, the sense of helpless and powerlessness, and the overwhelming stress of trying to sustain life during such devastating circumstances.

The help that is required is more than anyone is capable to deliver. Yet we see an international pouring out of practical help and support world-wide for these countries of people that are struggling so intensely. That response is encouraging and we need to pray that the supplies and help gets to the individuals who need it most. It is sometimes a challenge to even get supplies in our own country, yet alone those countries who need it so badly for those who have been left homeless and food deprived.  

I think of families torn apart, homes destroyed, children left without parents, the civil disorder, and the results of desperation among those who are in such need of basic human necessities.

So many of the necessities we take for granted are not even available to these thousands of individuals. 

These human needs are essential to meet. I hope there will be an outpouring of help and support internationally for these two countries who are in such duress. This is when we need to assume the role of global leadership and support for humanity. 

What is also a significant reality is the level of trauma that is currently happening and will continue to be a part of the legacy of thousands of individuals that have been affected by these two natural disasters. This is a scenario where those who have experienced such loss and tragedy will be unable to be processed any time soon. It will take decades of trauma impact, processing and recovery that will be culturally pervasive. It will debilitate whole societies and have repercussions mentally, psychologically, emotionally and relationally that will need a therapeutic intervention like we have never seen.

As in any set of disasters like this, meeting the emergency needs will be the immediate and primary focus. That in and of itself will be a monumental task. Once those basic needs are met there will be years of cultural and societal healing from this tragic set of traumas that these thousands of individuals will be experiencing for many years to come. I hope that reality will not be lost by the network of global leaders that will be providing support and guidance to these desperate countries.

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