Relationship between Trauma due to Winter Storm Alexa, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Other Mental Health Problems of Palestinian Children in Gaza Strip

Abdel Aziz Thabet, Sana Sabah Thabet and Panos Vostanis

Relationship between Trauma due to Winter Storm Alexa, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Other Mental Health Problems of Palestinian Children in Gaza Strip.

This study investigated the relationship between trauma due to winter storm Alexa, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health problems of Palestinian children in Gaza Strip. Gaza had been unable to pump sewage for more than a month, as power plants have shut down for lack of fuel. The fuel shortages—which caused daily power outages lasting  hours were not uncommon even before the devastations caused by winter storm Alexa.

Ground floors in hundreds of apartment buildings across miles of city blocks remain damaged by the flood. The heavy, icy rains, amounting to about 85% of annual rainfall, also drowned large swaths of Northern Gaza’s fertile areas, destroying or degrading rich farmland and the greenhouses on which families rely for subsistence.

In the hardest-hit areas, citizens used makeshift boats—some navigating the sewage
using gondola-like oars—to rescue families from rooftops and transport them to overcrowded shelters in adjoining neighborhoods.
Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, cyclones or tsunami, have substantial impact on the mental health of children and adolescents. Children who have lived through a natural
disaster may develop distressing symptoms, such as sleep or behavioral disturbance or severe emotional disturbance, or specific disorders, such as depression or anxiety

In this study, girls reported significantly more PTSD and avoidance symptoms than boys. Our finding were consistent with the study carried out one year after an earthquake in Taiwan
showed a distinct division by age and gender in the prevalence of PTSD symptoms. Elementary school girls had more severe symptoms than junior high school boys.

Psychol Cogn Sci Open J. 2016; 2(2): 66-72. doi: 10.17140/PCSOJ-2-117