World Health Organization Expresses Concern over Mental Health of Philippines’ Flood Victims

The late summer and early fall seasons in the Philippines were especially cruel in terms of weather this year, inundating the region with a series of tropical storms and floods that killed scores of people and left many others in a state of devastation. That state, unfortunately, still persists in the areas affected by the disasters, as over a million people live in homes and shelters still racked with floodwaters and debris. While there are many concerns over the potential for bacterial infections and other health concerns to take a toll on those living with the stagnant waters, the World Health Organization has recently noted that the potential for mental health issues to become prominent in the area is great.

Citing the stress and frustration of living in an environment soaked with floodwaters, with little hope of restoring hopes to a dry state before the end of the year, the organization suggested that mental fatigue, depression, and other mental health concerns were likely to take hold of many of those struggling on a daily basis to reclaim their property–and their lives–from the disasters. Along with local residents and business owners, the organization expressed concern for the emergency aid workers and other helpers assisting in cleanup and provision distribution efforts, many of whom have been working seven day weeks with little to no rest since September.

Surrounded not only by physical hardship but faced by the deaths of friends and loved ones, the victims of the Philippines floods should receive greater medical and mental health care, and measures should be taken to provide adequate services as soon as possible, suggests the WHO. In the meantime, the victims are showing daily that human will and perseverance are capable of working, living, and loving through even the most adverse of circumstances.

© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Dionne S.

    Dionne S.

    November 27th, 2009 at 12:21 PM

    We shouldn’t be surprised that the Phillipines victims aren’t being looked after right. The government let the Katrina victims down when it happened. Nothing has changed since 2005. People are still displaced all over the country and their lives turned upside down with no one wanting to take responsibility for their wellbeing anymore. When the media wheels stop turning and the cameras have all packed up and went home, no one cares.

  • Samuel


    November 27th, 2009 at 12:31 PM

    The luck of the Katrina victims may be about to change. I was reading that a federal judge isn’t accepting the “Act of God” defence that the Army Corps of Engineers has clung onto as the reason the levees broke. He’s ruling it as negligence.

    Quote: “The failure of the Corps to recognize the destruction that the MRGO had caused and the potential hazard that it created is clearly negligent on the part of the Corps,” the judge stated his 156-page verdict. “Furthermore, the Corps not only knew, but admitted by 1988, that the MRGO threatened human life … and yet it did not act in time to prevent the catastrophic disaster that ensued with the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina.”
    The US government will have class action suits coming out their ears.

  • Elizabeth R.

    Elizabeth R.

    November 27th, 2009 at 12:37 PM

    WHO is already under a mountain of strain because of the H1N1 flu epidemic too. I feel that is overshadowing any and all other problems right now. That’s what makes it difficult for WHO to gain extra support. Most countries are too busy looking after their own citizens. They are attempting to prevent H1N1 engulfing them. It’s a hard choice whether to free themselves and their resources up to lend help elsewhere in the world, especially medical personnel. Sad but true.

  • Gabriel


    November 27th, 2009 at 2:03 PM

    Kudos to the federal judge for having the guts to come out with that Katrina verdict! Although that sure isn’t going to win Judge Stanwood any friends in high places, he’ll have the respect of the common man.

  • David M Meyer

    David M Meyer

    April 10th, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    If you are interested i would be happy to present a paper on the involvement of the consumer in his/her therapy..
    How far can this involvement go?
    What do we mean by involvement?
    How does involvement help –and do we have any proof that it does,,

    These and other issues can be discussed..which makes for interesting and lively interaction
    If you wish i can put forward a more “academic Abstract”

    David Meyer
    Medic Retired

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Title   Content   Author is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on