Odisha triple train accident crash Balasore
NDRF personnel engaged in rescue work at the train accident site in Odisha's Balasore on Saturday

Rescuer suffered hallucinations, another lost appetite: NDRF DG after Odisha train tragedy

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An NDRF personnel deployed in the rescue operation at the triple train crash site in Odisha’s Balasore district suffered hallucinations while another reported loss of appetite, said Atul Karwal, the director general of the disaster response force, on Tuesday.

Nine National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams were deployed for rescue operations following one of the worst railway disasters in India that killed at least 278 people and left more than 900 injured. According to official data, the force rescued 44 victims and retrieved 121 bodies from the spot.

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Addressing the Annual Conference on Capacity Building for Disaster Response-2023, Karwal said, “I met my personnel who were involved in the rescue operation following the Balasore train accident… someone told me he had hallucinations of blood every time he saw water. Another said he has lost his urge to eat post this rescue operation.”

The NDRF DG, who recently toured the accident site, said the force initiated psychological counselling and mental stability courses for its personnel upon their return from a rescue and relief operation. “Such counselling sessions to ensure good mental health are being held for our personnel who undertake rescue and relief operations in areas struck with disaster,” he said.

About 95 per cent of the estimated 18,000 personnel-strong force was “fit” after special exercises were carried out in this context since the last year, Karwal added.

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The train accident in Balasore involving Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express and Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, which were carrying over 2,500 passengers, and goods train laden with iron ore occurred around 7 pm on Friday near the Bahanaga Bazar station in Balasore, about 250 km south of Kolkata and 170 km north of Bhubaneswar. As many as 21 coaches were derailed and severely damaged in the accident, trapping hundreds of passengers.

(With agency inputs)

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