Dr. Rony Berger and Dr. Marc Gelkopf, two Israeli post-trauma recovery specialists worked in hospitals and schools around Mumbai for over a week, training doctors in post-traumatic stress treatment techniques.
They also worked directly with victims of the coordinated terror attacks that occured in November 2008 with nearly 300 wounded and over 180 dead, including six Jews from the Nariman Chabad
The effort was coordinated on the ground in Mumbai by IsraAid, the NGO cooperative of some 35 Jewish humanitarian and development organizations.
IsraAid founder and coordinator Shahar Zahavi pointed out that Israel, with its extensive experience in recovery from terrorist violence, was a natural choice for providing technical expertise to India.
Berger has previously worked in a number of other high-profile disaster areas around the world and is currently a board member of the Psychology without Borders organization.
Berger’s work has taken him to post- 9/11 New York, villages damaged by the 2004 tsunami, and post-Katrina New Orleans, among other disaster zones.
Berger estimated that as many as 15% of those affected by the attacks, directly or otherwise, would be in need of post-trauma treatment. He also suggested that counseling might be offered to Indian police and firefighters, many of whom were wounded during rescue operations or suffered the death of colleagues.
Berger and Gelkopf partnered with Jaslok Hospital and Research Center’s Trauma Counseling Unit in Mumbai, to train doctors working with survivors of the attacks and with families of victims,
focusing on both treatment for the physiological manifestations of post-traumatic stress disorder, and methods of psychological counseling for the families of PTSD sufferers.
In addition, the doctors were dispatched to a number of schools in Mumbai, where they trained teachers on how to impart resiliency to their students and how to provide direct support for victims
and their families. They of course also worked with those who were involved directly in the recent attacks.
> Excerpts by Max Socol
Jpost.com, Dec 8, 2008