104 flooded with calls by trauma hit

Unable to overcome the mounting losses, forlorn man dialed 104 and desperately sought help.

Chennai: Though the staggering debt in the twilight of his life made him all the more disheartened, the sudden floods on Dec. 2 and 3 that devastated his house in Mudichur made this 71-year-old forlorn man hapless. Unable to overcome the mounting losses, he dialed 104 and desperately sought help.

“He claimed to have Rs 20 lakh as debt. After getting his two daughters married, he has been living with his wife who is blind in Mudichur here. The floods damaged his house and he was at a loss,” recalled B. Ilayaraja, counselling psychologist. His wife desperately sought for help. “She wanted to know if any NGO could help them… we told the couple natural calamity is something unavoidable. We have to be pragmatic in facing life,” Ilayaraja recalled.

Though the elderly man seemed convinced and was prepared to face life his wife however is yet to comer to terms with reality, the psychologist said indicating she might require more counselling sessions.

Theirs was not the only case. Tamil Nadu’s Health Helpline – 104 is receiving about 5 such calls a day from desperate people afflicted by floods. In aftermath of the floods, the helpline started answering calls to counsel the affected people. “Psychological counselling is also a form of rehabilitation and it is equally important as material rehabilitation,” argues B. Prabhudoss, marketing head, GVK EMRI, which operates the 108 Ambulance services.

The state government had launched this round-the-clock Health Helpline to provide a range of services including medical advice, information on communicable and non-communicable diseases, first aid, nutrition, STD, HIV, provide counselling besides register complaints against services provided by government hospitals, and information on the chief minister’s comprehensive health insurance scheme. From enquiries on common cold, fever, to mosquito menace, the Helpline receives over 2,000 calls per day on an average.

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( Source : deccan chronicle )
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