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Working with the Bereaved

  • By: Wylene Rholetter
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

The term bereaved means robbed, taken away by force, especially deprived by death of one connected by some endearing tie. When bereavement is tied to disaster, the process of grief and mourning is profoundly complicated. The bereaved may experience not only the loss of a loved one, but also the loss of home, community, and livelihood. If they are not part of the disaster scene, distance will create other difficulties. Such catastrophic loss carries physiological and psychological consequences for those whose lives have been redefined by disaster.

The immediate needs of the bereaved include information, practical assistance in coping, and emotional support. Bereaved individuals may interact with many responders in the aftermath of their loss. How the bereaved are treated by these humanitarian agents will significantly ...

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