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Psychological Experts Dispatched to Typhoon-hit Area
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A 12-member team of psychological experts arrived in Cangnan County, east China's Zhejiang Province on Saturday to carry out psychological intervention for people affected by Typhoon Saomai.


It is the first time for the provincial government of Zhejiang to organize such a team to allay mental pressure of the people affected by the typhoon, said Zhao Guoqiu, a psychologist and also head of the team.


Typhoon Saomai, the strongest storm to hit the Chinese mainland in 50 years, slammed into Cangnan County of Wenzhou City Thursday afternoon with wind speeds of up to 244 km per hour, bringing torrential rains and strong winds.


At least 43 people, including eight children, were killed and over 80 injured in Cangnan, where more than 5,000 houses collapsed.


Big disasters can cause the mental disturbance and problems of people if they cannot receive mental health treatment in time, according to Zhao.


Three separate groups of the team will go to the hardest-hit towns and stay there for half a month to help people recover psychologically, said Zhao.


Another team is also being organized and will soon go to typhoon-hit areas to treat mental health of affected local residents, according to Zhao.


First batch of relief materials including tents, medicine and clothes have been sent to Cangnan Saturday afternoon. The materials come from the China Red Cross Society and the provincial and Wenzhou municipal Red Cross societies.


So far, typhoon Saomai, has left 114 dead and at least 183 others missing in Zhejiang, Fujian and Jiangxi provinces. It was downgraded into a tropical depression Friday morning.


(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2006)

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