Mercy, compassion inspire ‘Yolanda’ survivors’ trauma care

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TACLOBAN City, April 9, 2015 – Two years after, houses may be built, but for some, if not many, the trauma caused by super typhoon Yolanda will require psycho-spiritual care, especially inspired by mercy and compassion.

A faith-based research and training group called Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture (ISACC), which started to provide psycho-spiritual trauma care to super typhoon Yolanda survivors for disaster risk reduction and management, practices mercy and compassion in pursuing its mission.

Super typhoon Yolanda survivors continue to suffer from trauma symptoms more than a year after the disaster. (Photo: CBCPNews)

“We do not just give gifts but we have to cultivate compassion…We have to have compassion to our selves first to be compassionate to other people,” said Dr. Christian Chan, who is part of ISACC.

Psychological first aid

Dr. Melba Padilla Maggay, president and founder of ISACC, compared what the group does to the Bible account of Jesus feeding the five thousand, besides women and children, with the five loaves and two fishes given by his disciples.

ISACC, did not have much funds at that time, she said, to mount a full-scale post-disaster response for the survivors as the disaster happened towards the end of 2013.

In spite of this, ISACC volunteers went to Tacloban at their own expense. According to Maggay, with “faith that God will multiply their resources” in order to realize their mission. They traveled to Tacloban several times to provide psychological first aid.

According to her, the team’s faith in God and resolve to be of assistance to those in need of post-disaster psychological first aid kept them determined to stay on and help.

Prayer, faith

Maggay stressed that ISAAC’s compassion for the survivors continued to move them 18 months after Yolanda, even as international NGOs started packing up after carrying out relief and rebuilding efforts.

Prayer and faith she pointed up are among the factors that make aid services succeed.

“There is a God who watch us over to whom we are accountable after all, Maggay said, making reference to the Biblical acccount on Jesus’ Parable of the Talents.

ISACC now conducts training to persons who could eventually replicate the same kind of psycho-spiritualcare to others. Traumatic incidents happen unexpectedly, she explained, because of either man-made or natural causes. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCP News)

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