A section of a tunnel built in Uttarakhand between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri national highway collapsed in the early hours of Sunday, November 12, trapping 40 workers in a traumatic situation. A 200-meter stretch of rock crumbled, trapping the laborers inside the tunnel. The rescue teams have not made much progress in the more than 48 hours.
The expert says that “for those caught in such a tunnel, the psychological effects can be wide-ranging and severe. A variety of emotional and psychological repercussions might result from feeling confined, alone, and under unpredictable circumstances.”
Psychological Impacts on Trapped Ones:
Panic and Terror:
Those who are trapped may feel alarm and fear due to the small space and the sense of being trapped. Another rudiment like darkness, poor ventilation, or the presence of troubles may complicate this emotional response.
Separateness and Seclusion:
One may witness aloneness from the external world when stranded in a tunnel. Feelings of loneliness and seclusion can be aggravated by social insulation and being cut off from friends and family, both of which can be mischievous to one’s mental health.
Anxiety and Stress:
Stress and anxiousness can be increased by the situation’s ambiguousness as well as the physical limitations of being confined to a tunnel.
Despairing and Depression:
Long-term seclusion and future uncertainty might aggravate depressive and hopeless feelings. despair could be aggravated by the feeling that you have no control over the circumstances.
Effect on Physical Health:
Physical health concerns like headaches, stomach troubles, or sleep disturbances can also be signs of mental strain. Stressors can affect one’s internal and physical health, and there’s a strong link between the mind and body.
PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder):
Being stranded in a tunnel under unfavourable circumstances can be traumatising. Even after the event has passed, people may experience heightened emotional reactions, intrusive thoughts, and nightmares as symptoms of PTSD.
According to the experts, fortunately, some people might show resiliency and figure out how to help one another. In addition to any outside assistance, the trapped workers’ solidarity can be very important in reducing the psychological toll.
In addition to the rescue efforts, experts suggested that the government and other relevant organisations assist the workers by taking some actions both during and after the mission:
- Coordination of Emergency Reaction: The government should establish a command center that is centrally located to manage emergency response activities by cooperating with NGOs.
- Information Sharing and Updates: Maintain harmonious and unequivocal communication with the stranded workers. Frequent updates on the status of the rescue and other material information serve to assure and lessen fear.
- Medical Support: Dispatches out bands of doctors to estimate the trapped workers’ health. Give quick medical attention, including psychological first aid, to treat health issues and give mental health support.
- Provision of demands: Assure a harmonious force of food, water, and medical supplies to maintain their physical health while the deliverance is underway.
- Psychological Assistance: Give mental health treatments to workers to help them manage the pressure and anxiety associated with being confined. Counsellors with training or mental health specialists can help workers and their families.
- Relocation and Follow: Make arrangements for the workers’ post-rescue relocation and care. Treat any residual goods, this may comprehend continuing mental health care and medical follow-ups
It’s imperative to respond speedily and strategically in any emergency scenario. To cover the safety and well-being of those impacted by similar events.