Photos: Morocco earthquake survivors deal with mental scars

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By Webdesk

When Khadija Temera, a survivor of Morocco’s devastating earthquake, was sent to a psychiatrist, she was just one of the many newly traumatised patients.

Beyond the physical devastation, soldiers and aid workers say, it is becoming increasingly clear that many of the survivors are facing severe mental suffering.

“The most important thing is that we are alive,” said Temera, her henna-stained fingers fiddling with a piece of paper, her eyes swollen with tears.

But now she wants to “heal her heart”, she had her first consultation with a psychiatrist, seeking balm for the trauma inflicted by the earthquake.

She had first gone to see a regular doctor for hypertension. But Moroccan troops in the area quickly referred her to the psychiatrist, who said he had seen about 100 patients since the previous day out of the 500 who came to the field hospital in Asni, approximately 90km (55 miles) south of the tourist hub of Marrakesh.

Flashbacks from the fateful day continue to haunt Temera: of stairs collapsing and trapping her and the nine members of her family before they could be rescued.

Next to her on a bench, a mute woman was also waiting for a consultation, her hands clasped across her chest and breathing heavily. She has lost both her children.

After her comes the turn of a man in his 30s, his eyes red from crying.

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