Italian Red Cross provides psychosocial support after boat tragedy in Lampedusa

Publié: 4 octobre 2013 17:26 CET

On Wednesday morning, a boat carrying 500 migrants sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa. More than 110 are confirmed dead, but hundreds more people are missing from the boat. The Italian Red Cross has been providing assistance and psychosocial support to the 155 survivors and those affected.

Alessandra Diodati, a worker for the Italian Red Cross who is responsible for the social aspects of the Praesidium project on Lampedusa, said psychosocial support was a vital aspect of the society’s operations at times like this. “Surviving sometimes brings up difficult questions for those affected,” he said.

On the island of Lampedusa, the Praesidium project monitors the arrival of immigrants. “We are always there for landings,” said Diodati. “These days, we have decided to increase our provision of psychosocial support, together with other organizations operating here on Lampedusa. From now on, a psychologist will be available at the reception centre, both for the survivors as well as any of those working here who need psychosocial support following the tragedy.

“People experience a variety of states, from disbelief to feelings of guilt for having made it while not being able to help others,” Diodati said. Managing these feelings becomes all the more difficult when you arrive in a country where people speak a different language. The Italian Red Cross will provide an Eritrean interpreter to help overcome the language barrier.

Of great concern are those people who remain in their home country and have learned about the disaster on the radio or through newspapers. They may not have news of their loved ones, and have no way of finding an answer. Restoring family links is a service provided by the Red Cross for family members who have been separated; the service is used frequently in the aftermath of natural disasters or tragedies.

Adapted from an original Italian language article by Adnkronos,, published on 4 October 2013.

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