BLIND SPOT: Armed conflict and disabling consequences

June 1, 2017

 

Fighting in the city where the heat is on

All night, on the streets till the break of dawn

Welcome to Marawi.  (a slightly changed lyric of the Will Smith song, “Miami”)

“Maute group terrorists have torn through the streets of Marawi since the night of May 23, torching buildings, taking a priest and his worshipper’s hostage and sealing off much of the city. The violence forced thousands to flee and raised fears of growing extremism in the country.”  (www.sunstar.com) “Most of the city’s residents have fled because of the fighting, which has seen the military heavily bomb residential areas where the militants were believed to be hiding.”  (www.rappler.com) “Thousands of civilians have been evacuated from their homes due to the violent siege.”  ““This is a conflict that has gone beyond proportion. The magnitude of the degree of the damage and the people that are affected ... it’s really massive,” Lanao del Sur 1st District Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong told Reuters. (telegraph.co.uk)

In case you haven’t noticed, it has been a trend that has been catching on recently.  In the Israel Syria border, “— two children, four women and a man — waited in pain for darkness to fall to cross into enemy territory. Under the faint moonlight, Israeli y corps quickly whisked the patients across the hostile frontier into armored ambulances headed to hospitals for intensive care.” (www.indepedent.co.uk) “The war in Afghanistan continues destroying lives, due to the direct consequences of violence and the war-induced breakdown of public health, security, and infrastructure.” (watson.brown.edu)  “Fighters with the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) have indiscriminately attacked civilian areas in eastern Mosul with mortar rounds and explosives, and deliberately shot at fleeing residents,  (https://www.hrw.org)   

When engaged in discussions on the ensuing armed conflicts, concerns are primarily drawn on ideologies, ethnic backgrounds of combatants, initiatives towards resolutions, the type of warfare employed, the politics that entangle decisions behind offensives, and even the deplorable attempt at humor in lifting spirits of military personnel.  However, little attention is given on the malevolent marks that trail the   tremors of  armed conflict.  

“Among the consequences of war, the impact on the mental health of the civilian population is one of the most significant. Studies of the general population show a definite increase in the incidence and prevalence of mental disorders. Women are more affected than men. Other vulnerable groups are children, the elderly and the disabled.” “The effects of war include long-term physical and psychological harm to children and adults, as well as reduction in material and human capital.”

“Long-term effects of deployment into military conflicts are substantial, and likelihood of war-related disability is associated with service history. If similar patterns follow from more recent conflicts, significant additional resources will be needed to prevent and treat long-term health conditions among veterans.”(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

“By the end of the First World War, nearly two million had been permanently disabled - over 40,000 had lost legs or arms. All these people needed medical treatment, ongoing care and work or financial support in order to survive in peacetime. (https://historicengland.org)  In today›s wars, more civilians than soldiers are killed or disabled and most of them are women and children. Explosions cause people to become deaf, blind, and lose their limbs, as well as causing other injuries. Their mental health is also badly affected by the violence. The destruction of homes, schools, health centers, and means of livelihood that results from conflicts and wars leads to increased disability, poverty, and disease.” (en.hesperian.org)

In Syrian refugee camps in Jordan. People had been physically attacked, women had been raped and children who had been neglected. The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are clear.  Many refugees have depression and anxiety.  “Psychologists recognize three windows of extreme stress for refugees: the often violent traumas in their home countries that led to their flight; the journey itself; and the arrival, when people are thrust into a foreign country.”  (https://www.scientificamerican.com)

It is enough of a struggle that the resolutions to these armed conflicts seem to delay.  But even if a war ends, or even while it occurs, proceeds an even longer more painful, more heartbreaking battle of rehabilitation from the mind-numbing mopping of the mess of the debris that is disability.  

According to the research, “Mental health consequences of war”, the occurrence of a wide variety of psychological symptoms and syndromes in the populations in conflict situations is widely documented by available research.  However, research also provides evidence about the resilience of more than half of the population in the face of the worst trauma in war situations.

“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” Matthew 24:6


 

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload