"Social Work Skills in Working with Survivors of Earthquake "


  • Mohammad Reza Iravani




An earthquake with continuing aftershocks occurred in Iran, causing massive physical destruction, loss of life, and social and psychological disturbances. Iran is situated on one of the active earthquake zones; bearing the most risk, both of loss of life and of damage. In the last century, Iran experienced more than 100 quakes and suffered their effects. Disasters create profound changes in humans and their environments. People face various events and react to them differently. According to Hodgkinson and Stewart (1998), reactions to disaster, complex as they are, can be understood essentially as the reactions of normal human beings to sudden, unexpected and terrifying events in their lives. In disasters, generally, people lose loved ones, relatives and property. Above all, in psychological terms, they lose faith in the fact that life has a certain consistency and meaning. The fabric of everyday existence is torn away to reveal death and precarious survival. For the survivor, the encounter involves a violation of tranquillity. Erol and Oner (1999) indicated that once a disaster has happened to individuals, they believe that life cannot ever be the same again; that they cannot go safely to bed at night and that they must have done something to deserve it. Thus they deal with the question of self-esteem and anxiety.