Latest update on the earthquake in Turkey and Syria Close to 2,000 deaths have been reported in Türkiye and north-west Syria on 6 February as a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck southern Türkiye at 4:17 am. This is Türkiye’s most powerful earthquake recorded since 1939. At least 78 aftershocks have been reported followed by a second earthquake of 7.5 magnitudes at 13:24 with the epicenter in Ekinozu/Kahramanmaras province. Tremors were reportedly felt in Gaziantep and neighboring provinces. The Government of Türkiye has since issued a Level 4 alarm, calling for international assistance. The earthquake also heavily impacted north-west Syria, a region where 4.1 million people depend on humanitarian assistance today.

Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings IASC 2007 These quite useful guidelines (191 p.) reflect an emerging consensus on good practice among practitioners. The core idea behind them is that, in the early phase of an emergency, social supports are essential to protect and support mental health and psychosocial well-being. The guidelines provide in addition with selected psychological and psychiatric topics interventions for specific problems. Scroll down the page and you will find the guidelines in several languages.

Disaster Mental Health Handbook  American Red Cross 2012 These guidelines provide a good overview of to define disaster, and possible symptoms in the survivors, as well as how to handle the survivor’s needs. Some advice concerning assessment during the different phases of disaster.

Disaster Psychosocial Response – Handbook for community counselor trainers Academy for Disaster Management Education, Planning, Training ADEPT 2005 This training manual (95 p.) aims to provide an overview of substantive concepts to assist (target group) psycho-social program administrators, planners, trainers, and clinicians in developing the training component of community counseling projects, including how disasters affect children, adults and older adults, the importance of tailoring the program to fit the community and descriptions of effective counseling interventions. It gives an overview of symptoms, and psychological effects on people (children, adults, elderly).

Coping With Disasters – a Guidebook to Psychosocial Intervention John H. Ehrenreich 2001 This manual (104 p.) outlines a variety of psychosocial interventions aimed at helping people cope with the emotional effects of disasters. It is intended for use by mental health workers (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and other counselors), primary medical care workers (doctors, nurses, and other community health providers), disaster relief workers, teachers, religious leaders, and community leaders, and by governmental and organizational officials concerned with responses to disasters. It is intended as a field guide or as the basis for brief or extended training programs on how to respond to the psychosocial effects of disasters.

The Humanitarian Emergency Settings Perceived Needs Scale (HESPER) WHO 2011 The HESPER Scale was developed to fill the gap between the population-based “objective” indicators (for example malnutrition or mortality indicators), and the qualitative data based on convenience samples (for example through focus groups or key informant interviews).. It aims to provide a method for assessing perceived needs in representative samples of populations affected by large-scale humanitarian emergencies in a valid and reliable manner. This manual includes the HESPER Scale, as well as a detailed explanation of how to use the HESPER Scale, how to train interviewers, and how to organize, analyze and report on a HESPER survey.

Mental health and social health after acute emergencies Ommeren, Saxcena & Saraceno, Round Table WHO Bulletin 2005 This represents a short overview and consensus about best to cope with disasters, both practical topics and mentioning the necessary social support.

Natural disasters: Overview American psychological association  This website under the American Psychological Association provides a good overview of the effects of disasters on people’s psyche. It gathers lots of relevant links under the topics of coping with disaster, how psychologists help, and some updated news about disaster effects.

Mind/body health: The effects of traumatic stress American psychological association 2010 This article is a “fact sheet” presenting to the target group of survivors an overview about symptoms, effects otherwise, and coping strategies.

Tips for recovering from disasters and other traumatic events American psychological association 2010 A fact sheet that presents in a short version some topics concerning disaster: how do people respond, how should I help myself and my family, when should I seek professional help. Target group: survivors.

Psychosocial aspects of the Tsunami  IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support 2005 Factsheet (1 p.) ”what you can do right now to support wellbeing” – very practically how-to-do after a disaster had occurred, f.e. how to talk to survivors. Not only after Tsunamis.

Psychosocial interventions – A handbook IFRC 2009 This handbook (198 p.) presents very solid information and how-to-do about coping with disasters and their psychological effects. Focus on psychosocial support and how to organize: assessments, planning, implementation, training, and monitoring. Target group: psychosocial practitioners. 

Psychological first aid: Guide for field workers  World Health Organization 2011 This guide covers psychological first aid which involves humane, supportive and practical help to fellow human beings suffering serious crisis events. It is written for people in a position to help others who have experienced an extremely distressing event. It gives a framework for supporting people in ways that respect their dignity, culture and abilities. Despite its name, psychological first aid covers both social and psychological support. Target group: mental health and other disaster response workers.

Public health risk assessment and interventions, Earthquake: Haiti WHO 2010 This “public health risk assessment” was meant to provide health professionals in United Nations Agencies, nongovernmental organizations, donor agencies, and local authorities which were and are working with populations affected by the earthquake in Haiti, with up-to-date technical guidance on the major public health threats faced by the earthquake-affected population. Even though this is from 2010 the risk assessment is still valid. –

Guidelines on Gender-based Violence interventions in humanitarian settings IASC 2015 We know that in times of crises and disaster, there is an increased level of violence, in particular in Gender-based Violence (GBV). GBV is a serious problem also in the context of complex emergencies and natural disasters where normal structures of society are seriously affected and alternative safeguards are not yet in place. Women and children are often targets of abuse and are the most vulnerable to exploitation and violence simply because of their gender, age, and status in society. This website provides an overview and factsheets on that topic.

Psychological First Aid: Field Operations Guide PTSD: National Center for PTSD 2006 Developed jointly with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, PFA is an evidence-informed modular approach for assisting people in the immediate aftermath of disaster and terrorism: to reduce initial distress and to foster short- and long-term adaptive functioning. Download the free Psychological First Aid Mobile App

Disasters NCTSN 2010 This is the main page of NCTSN concerning Natural Disasters. It provides the most important links under this topic – earthquakes, epidemics, fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis. Under each of these pages, you will find lots of very useful links and articles as well, with an essential description of situations, symptoms, and how-to-cope procedures.

Field Manual for Mental Health and Human Service Workers in Major Disasters SAMSHA 2010 This Field Manual is intended for mental health workers and other human service providers who assist survivors following a disaster. This pocket reference provides the basics of disaster mental health, with numerous specific and practical suggestions for humanitarian workers (target group). Essential information about disaster survivors’ reactions and needs is included. “Helping” skills are described with guidance for when to refer for professional assistance. Strategies for worker stress prevention and management are presented in the last section.