Poland 1998

Rains devastate the country In July 1997, Poland was hit by days of torrential rain that caused the death of at least 80 people and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes. MSF sent assistance to Wroclaw, one of the worst affected cities, where 15,000 were made homeless. As the lack of clean water made sterilisation extremely difficult, MSF distributed dressings, disposable gloves, needles, syringes, transfusion sets, jerry cans and disinfectant to nine hospitals. MSF also trained 60 child psychologists and other mental health professionals in dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder over a three-week period in August. They, in turn, trained another 60 people, including teachers and psycho-social workers, and so on until the end of the year when 300 had been trained. MSF also established a system of community-based mental health centres to which people could turn for help in coping with their flood-related psycho-social problems.