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Medical aid agency resumes service in Kashmir Valley

By Mukhtar Ahmad
October 06, 2010 19:01 IST

After a month-long halt due to the violent clashes in Jammu and Kashmir, Medecins Sans Frontieres, an international medical humanitarian organisation, has resumed its activities in the Valley.

'MSF has been able to resume some of its activities in Jammu and Kashmir after round-the-clock curfews and increasing violence led it to temporarily halt its mental health services on September 12,' a statement issued in Srinagar said.

Despite the continuing tense situation, MSF counsellors have restarted visiting patients in the hospitals in Srinagar and are offering on-the-spot psychological assistance to victims of violence and their families. Since resuming its services last week, they have provided counselling to 50 patients, most of whom have been traumatised by violence, mostly gunshot wounds, according to the statement.  

"We are dealing with a population which is completely traumatised by over two decades of violence, and today people are continuing to suffer psychologically," said Maria Veerart, MSF's mental health officer in Kashmir.

MSF has worked in Jammu and Kashmir since 2001 offering psychosocial counselling to its population and in 2009 its mental health programme treated more than 5,800 people.

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar