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Italy Earthquake Response

by IsraAID
Italy Earthquake Response
Nov 20, 2017

Trauma and resilience in Amatrice

The 25 participants during the training in October
The 25 participants during the training in October

'My house was the house of my father, the house of my grandfather, the home of our family generation, of our roots... and is all disappeared. We have no more memories.' Caterina, Amatrice

IsraAID continues its work with post trauma prevention and reduction in Amatrice and the surrounding villages and towns. The ruins of the earthquake are still visible in the town of Amatrice; a constant reminder of the event that took the lives, homes and memories of hundreds of families. IsraAID’s team recently conducted a pilot training in psychological first aid and psycho-social support in emergencies to social workers, therapists and teachers from the area to respond to the needs of the affected population and future emergencies in the country.

The 4-day training and workshops were a pilot for the long term capacity building program that will start in December. The long term program is built to strengthen the local mechanism for emergency response and trauma relief in Italy - using innovative tools and know-how. Through peer-learning groups and supervision, this program has the potential to become the basis for a national emergency response program. 

AMATRICE - 1800 people were displaced by the earthquake in 2016 and are now living in temporary or new houses.

Twenty-five social workers, teachers and psychologists from central Italy participated in IsraAID’s psychological first aid and psycho-social support training, using a tailor-made curriculum specific to the context of the emergency (earthquake) in Italy.

The impact of providing psychological first aid to survivors is immediate and positive, normalizing stress reactions and easing distress levels in all who are reached.  Psychological first aid was designed to reduce the initial distress caused by traumatic events, and to foster short- and long-term adaptive functioning. The team established a human connection in a non-intrusive, compassionate manner maintaining a calm, non-judgmental demeanor.

Training: The implementation module focused on the definition and symptoms of trauma, resilience, and resources. Another key element of the training was how to operate during an emergency with particular attention to the psycho-social needs. During the four-days training, participants were deeply involved, asking questions and grappling the topics as they were taught. The training focused on both theory and practical application of concepts using an experiential approach.

"This training was the “safe place” for me; each of us had the opportunity to express themselves without receiving any annulment. I’m going home rich and brighter, as there was no question without an answer much more than my expectation”. Fabio, 34

The training sessions were meant to help build their capacity, bolster their personal coping mechanisms and give them an outlet for their own stress.The methodology used during the training was delivered through: working groups; simulation in pairs; painting, art-therapy, discussion through various questions conducted by the lecturer (open and closed questions), sharing their own experiences. One training took place in Amatrice, where the group had also the opportunity to visit nearby the Red Zone, as many of them knew the situation only via media. The last two training days took place in Rome.

Thank you for your help and stay tuned for the next phase of the program. Continue to support our team in Italy by donating now – the population of Amatrice still needs you help!

House still in ruins, October 2017
House still in ruins, October 2017
A bet room, Amatrice October 2017
A bet room, Amatrice October 2017
Visiting the Red Zone of the earthquake, Amatrice
Visiting the Red Zone of the earthquake, Amatrice
Group work during training
Group work during training
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Organization Information


Location: Tel Aviv, Merkaz - Israel
Project Leader:
Molly Bernstein
Tel Aviv, Merkaz Israel

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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