Psychosocial support provided to people affected by the floods
The press conference focusing on the organisation of psychosocial support for residents living in areas affected by the floods was attended by the Director of the Government Communication Office, Petra Bezjak Cirman, and Head of Psychological Assistance Unit in Civil Protection System of the Republic of Slovenia, Barbara Čibej Žagar.
Ms Petra Bezjak Cirman initially said that today the Civil Protection Commander, Srečko Šestan, signed an order tasking the Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH), to oversee the organisation and coordination of psychosocial support for residents in areas affected by the floods and displaced people from these areas, as of Wednesday, 16 August 2023. In accordance with the order, the Ministry of Health and the NIPH must ensure at least seven teams comprising a psychologist, a social worker, a registered nurse, a representative of the Red Cross, Karitas or local non-governmental organisations and, if needed, a representative of the fire department, the armed forces or the police.
She stressed that psychologists of the Civil Protection Service and volunteer psychologists were already active in the affected areas.
The Director of the Government Communication Office also presented the current data on intestinal infections, according to which there are no serious cases requiring medical care in the Koroška region. The National Institute of Public Health continues to monitor the situation closely and recommends that residents follow all hygienic recommendations and that volunteers heading out into the field to provide assistance in flood recovery be healthy and without signs of infection with communicable diseases.
Ms Barbara Čibej Žagar went on to say that, at today’s meeting of the Civil Protection Headquarters, attended by representatives of the Ministry of Health, the NIPH, the Red Cross, the police and the Slovenian Armed Forces, it was agreed that, as of Wednesday, 16 August 2023, psychosocial support for the residents of areas affected by the floods would be taken over by the Ministry of Health in cooperation with the NIPH. From Wednesday onwards, the NIPH will coordinate teams of experts providing psychosocial support in the field.
According to Ms Čibej Žagar, psychosocial support has so far been provided to affected residents by psychologists of the national unit for psychosocial support of the Civil Protection Service, together with volunteer psychologists who, since Sunday, 6 August 2023, have carried out more than one hundred interventions in the field with residents who have undergone traumatic experiences due to floods and related events, particularly landslides. Psychosocial support was therefore provided to more than 300 people. Psychosocial support for residents was organised in Črna na Koroškem, Prevalje, Ljubno ob Savinji, the broader Kamnik area and the Mozirje area.
She said that it was clear that, in addition to material and financial assistance, people in affected areas would also require psychosocial support for a foreseeable future, and that many traumatised people would experience distress with a delay of one week or one month.
Head of Psychological Assistance Unit in Civil Protection System, Barbara Čibej Žagar, concluded by thanking everyone in the field who helped make psychosocial support available to affected people immediately, pointing out that it will be available to a broader circle of people living in affected areas in the following days.
At the end of the press conference, the Director of the Government Communication Office, Petra Bezjak Cirman, said that an estimated 11,000 to 12,000 people, who applied to volunteer via the Poplave 2023 application, were in the field today. According to data, 90 work orders for larger groups consisting of 30 to several hundred people were issued, and an additional 2000 for those with buildings in areas affected by the floods. As support in these areas will be needed for a long time to come, perhaps even a few years, we all wish that we are successful in providing it, concluded the Director of the Government Communication Office.