Psychological Effects in the Immediate Aftermath of the Tsunami Disaster – A Kerala Experience


  • Harish M Tharayil Professor, Government Medical College, Kozhikkode.
  • AM Fazal Mohamed Associate professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, Pushpagiri Medical College, Tiruvalla.
  • CT Sudhir Kumar Research and Development Centre, Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Society of India, Kochi.
  • G Mohan Roy Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram.
  • Varghese P Punnoose Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Kottayam.



The tsunami waves wreaked havoc in coastal areas of the South Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in December 2004. Our team was involved in the care of those displaced to nearby hospitals and relief camps in the immediate few days following the disaster in Alappuzha district. This paper describes details of cases referred to psychiatrists by other doctors in those days. Out of the 43 cases referred for evaluation, 37 (86%) had a psychiatric diagnosis. 27 (60%) met the criteria for Acute Stress Disorder , (ASD). Some suffered from exacerbation of pre-existing disorders.


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