'Tsunami survivors must be counselled'
Relief workers helping survivors of the quake and tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean need to move fast to counter the mental damage in shocked, vulnerable communities, the international Red Cross has said.
"It is vital we get people under shelter and receiving adequate assistance as quickly as possible to avoid preventable physical and psychological problems," said Mostafa Mohaghegh, operations coordinator at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
At least 120,000 died in the Indian Ocean disaster. Around 5 million more were left without the basic means to survive, often homeless, lacking food and access to safe drinking water.
Initial aid efforts have focused on providing food and shelter, as well as the medical supplies and clean water that are needed to ward off diseases including dysentery, typhoid and cholera.
The mental impact of catastrophes rarely grabs the same kind of attention.