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Earthquake and Disasters: How to Deal with Distress?

As the images of the latest earthquake in Turkey and Syria continue to spread across the social media, we get more exposed to devastating and heartbreaking pictures, videos, and reels, especially as the death toll keeps climbing up.

While we may not be experiencing the tragedy firsthand, it can still affect us negatively.

Some of the videos coming in can be disturbing, altering our perceptions of “safety” and “uncertainty,” we have about the world. They can lead to anxiety, insomnia, intense fears, and restlessness. 

Watching and looking at the victims and the desperation of others can be highly distressing, especially for the children, who, depending on their age, can only partially understand what is going on. 

Here’s how we can deal with the tragedy without getting overwhelmed, as well as helping our children understand the situation.

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Check out these tips:

  • Try to limit your and your kids’ exposure to upsetting news about the earthquake and pictures of the victims’ injuries. If you have trouble sleeping, limit the amount of time you spend reading about it and avoid watching the news right before bed, with or without your kids. 
  • Focus on what you can do instead: involve yourself in a charity or local fundraising, for example, or in a community gathering and prayer. Make duas for the victims and their families together with your children.
  • These terryfing events are reminders for all about the uncertainty of this life. Our primary focus is the Hereafter and seeking the guidance of Allah by putting our trust in Him:

“O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]: Be mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, then ask Allah [alone]; and if you seek help, then seek help from Allah [alone]. Know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what Allah had already prescribed for you. And if they were to gather together to harm you with anything, they would not harm you except with what Allah had already prescribed against you. ” Hadith 19, 40 Hadith an-Nawawi

  • Check out Sr. Rania Awad’s detailed advice below on how to talk about the tragedy with children
  • You can also join a support group, for example, this virtual one, organzied by