Thursday September 1, 2005
One year on from the school siege in Beslan that claimed the lives of 338 people, including 172 children, the Red Cross reports that a third of the families affected will need long term psychological support.
Here in Australia the community rallied to support those affected and helped Red Cross raise $110,000 to assist the victims of the bloodshed.
CEO of Australian Red Cross, Robert Tickner said a study carried out by Russian Red Cross found one third of the 578 affected families in Beslan need ongoing home care and psychological support due to their various psychological and health problems.
'Red Cross is providing that psychological assistance through an outreach program where some 20 nurses visit affected families each week to help those whose lives were torn apart by the tragedy,' said Mr Tickner.
Red Cross has also opened a community centre in Beslan. It provides psyhcological support along with social activities and homes visits. Almost 400 people attend art, computer or sports classes in the centre.
However, psychological problems are often compounded by physical disabilities. One year after the tragedy, many of the former hostages and their relatives still need more health care.
The medical problems of the former hostages are serious and varied. About 120 people, including 80 children, are learning how to live with severe physical disabilities. Twenty-five of these children are orphans. Thirty people with hearing problems need operations.
According to Mr Tickner, funds raised by Red Cross in Australia have been put to good use. 'Red Cross have been given funds to improve facilities at the central Beslan hospital so that more people can be treated locally. Meanwhile Red Cross is developing plans to assist families with ongoing medical and rehabilitation costs,' Mr Tickner said.