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Psychological complaints after gas explosion

Published on 29/07/2005

29 July 2005

BRUSSELS — Of those directly or indirectly involved with the Ghislenghien gas disaster, some 5.1 percent suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome six months after the massive explosion.

One out of every four suffered from physical complaints, depression, angst or sleeping disorders, research commissioned by Health Minister Rudy Demotte has revealed.
Researchers with the Health Ministry’s epidemiological service UCL and the stress and trauma research centre with the Royal Military School have studied the psychiatric consequences of the Ghislenghien disaster.

They sent a survey to 7,103 adults and children who live in the vicinity of the industrial site that exploded on 30 July 2004. These were people who were primarily not classified as a direct victim.

However, 702 employees of companies located at the industrial terrain were also surveyed. A further 163 people who called the emergency service phone number shortly after the explosion were also surveyed. These people were primarily injured people or family members of hurt or killed victims.

A total of 1,147 people completed the survey, the results of which revealed that six months after the disaster, 5.1 percent were suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

And yet most of these people received psychological counseling. Consequently, it remains unclear whether counseling found its way to those who needed it most or whether the counseling itself was inadequate.
Research was also conducted to determine how many people were suffering from sleep disorders, somatic complaints, angst or depression, newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported on Friday.

On average, one out of every five people suffered from depression, angst or physical complaints. Across the entire Wallonian population, that average is one out of every eight. Some 28.8 percent of those affected by the disaster were found to be suffering from sleep disorders.

Those who were not directly affected by the disaster but lived in the area also suffered psychologically. Research indicated that people who called the emergency number had more complaints six months after the disaster than those who didn’t call for help.

The people surveyed drink more alcohol than other residents of the Henegouwen province who were not affected by the disaster, smoke more and use more medicine, the study found.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news