"We are seeing children petrified by seeing water in a tub or cowering when large airplanes are flying overhead because they sound like rushing water," said Randall Kyes, a research associate professor of psychology and head of the division of international programs at the UW's National Primate Research Center.
Kyes said some children had begun to stop talking and adults were beginning to experience nightmares and severe insomnia. "The critical period is now and for the next six months. You don't meet a single person who didn't lose someone," said Kyes, who spent a week in Banda Aceh, once a city of more than 250,000 people that was the hardest hit by the twin disasters. He worked in Indonesia helping to set up an emergency psychological trauma center and in recovering bodies of victims.
"People are past the tears and the immediate loss, and now reflection sets in and trauma is beginning to surface. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of people, and that's just in the province of Aceh. The number jumps into the millions when you consider the scope of the disaster in all of the countries involved."
Kyes has ongoing ties to Indonesia, where he has done work for 15 years. He heads a collaborative program between the UW and Bogor Agricultural University that includes research and training components, as well as an effort to conserve a number of endangered primate species. Of the 370 students from Aceh province at Bogor Agricultural University, at least 200 lost some or all of their family, their home or any hope for family assistance in completing their education.
Kyes does not specialize in clinical treatment, but has experience as a trained emergency medical technician and as a member of a national Disaster
Contact: Joel Schwarz
University of Washington