Emergency workers being trained for psychological response

Costa Rica’s emergency commission held a session Monday to train responders to aid in emotional recovery after natural disasters strike, a press release said.

The workshop was held in Nicoya, and it included numerous other groups that provide assistance during the natural disasters.

Commission officials said they seek to put greater emphasis on social recovery in following disasters by dispatching brigadas de apoyo psicosocial or psychosocial brigades, the press release said.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias is a government organization responsible for handling as well as planning relief and recovery efforts after a natural disaster hits.

These natural disasters can include storms, floods, volcano eruptions and earthquakes.

After most disasters such as the Sept. 5 earthquake, the commission focuses primarily on getting physical aid to injured and homeless people and repairing damaged infrastructure.
At this workshop, commission officials said that helping victims of these disasters to emotionally recuperate is a key part of the regional recovery process, the press release said.

In addition to training their own employees, commission workers also trained representatives from the Universidad de Costa Rica, the Colegio de Psicólogos, the Colegio de Trabajadores Sociales, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social and the Cruz Roja Costarricense.

The press release said that social workers have already been involved with people affected by recent disasters. They held light-hearted group sessions where they encouraged people to openly discuss their fears and how they might conquer those fears.

The commission also used the workshop to organize the efforts of how their brigades would be deployed, the press release said. Officials especially wanted to make sure that these groups could be sent to all the communities that might need their help with adequate staff and supplies.

Nicoya on the peninsula of the same name suffered major damage in the Sept. 5 earthquake that took place off the Pacific coast there.

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