Spiritual issues surrounding a disaster


More often than not, manmade and natural disasters strike causingmassive deaths and destruction of property. Numerous people,sometimes to the tune of millions are either directly or indirectlyaffected by the disasters. The Nepal earthquake, which is a naturaldisaster was one such disaster that caused over 8000 deaths and leftmillions of people homeless. Such disasters bring along emotions ofanxiety, fear, sadness and anger. The trauma caused by the disasteris prevalent (Carll, 2015). These post disaster effects can go on foran extremely long time sometimes running into decades. Theindividuals, communities and healthcare providers all sufferbereavement due to the loss of loved ones. One thing that isforgotten is the spiritual aspect of disasters. The spirituality ofthe people affected by a disaster is affected and this may cause themto lose their strong belief in God (Carll, 2015). Whereas some peoplebelieve that disasters are as a result of manmade mistakes, naturalcauses, others believe that disasters such as earthquakes are causedby supernatural powers that are beyond human control andunderstanding. People find it difficult to find answers to disastersand such people clearly need spiritual help. Some individuals maybelieve that the disaster is a work of the evil.

Community health nurses have a vital role to play when it comes tothe issue of assisting in spiritual care. The aftermath of a disastersuch as the Nepal earthquake leaves people with spiritual problems.It is therefore not enough to provide people with material andemotional support alone, but spiritual assistance is also useful.People doubt their (God) s as a result of the disaster (Roberts &ampAshley, 2011). People’s faith in God is shaken and they needspiritual assistance. The community health nurse has theresponsibility of praying with the victims in their homes. This willhelp restore their faith in spirituality. The nurse is mainly theonly person that the individuals or the community can speak withregarding their problems. By being present and listening to thevictims, the nurse would be offering the much needed spiritualassistance. In the cases of a community, the nurse can organizemeetings and invite spiritual leaders such as pastors and evangeliststo come and talk with the victims. This will be extremely vital inrestoring the people’s belief in God.

Since the nurse also needs spiritual assistance, it is prudent forher to look for the spiritual leader such as a pastor and be guidedtowards her former spirituality. This can happen either together withother colleagues or in seclusion. It would be more useful to talk tothe spiritual leader as a team rather than being alone (Carll, 2015).This would not only save on time, but it would also ensure thatdifferent nurses give their different accounts of the disaster andits effects. When addressing the spiritual issues affecting theindividuals, the nurse has the option of either praying andcommunicating with the individual, or referring the individual to hisor her relevant spiritual leader.

When a disaster such as the Nepal earthquake strikes, the places ofworship such as mosques and churches are destroyed. This implies thatthe people can no longer worship using their normal routine (Carll,2015). This affects their spirituality and belief. The communityhealth nurse can mobilize resources and construct temporary worshipcenters. This would indeed be a major spiritual assistance to thevictims.


Carll, E. K. (2015).&nbspViolence and disaster. Westport,Conn: Praeger.

Roberts, S., &amp Ashley, W. W. C. (2011).&nbspDisasterspiritual care: Practical clergy responses to community,regional, and national tragedy. Woodstock, VT: SkyLight PathsPub.