Psychosocial care and shelter following the Bijlmermeer air disaster


This article describes the organization of the psychosocial aid and aftercare for survivors in the context of the Bijlmermeer air disaster that took place in 1992 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It is based on an examination of the relevant city documents and media coverage, and on interviews with city officials and disaster workers. The aid operation was complicated by the fact that the disaster struck a socially vulnerable multicultural community. The experiences illustrate the difficulties involved in coordinating the psychosocial care and aftercare provided by different agencies, and suggest a need for ample planning and training in this respect. In addition, they point to the importance of tailoring interventions to survivors' specific needs, careful registration of survivors and helpers, and limitation of the number of shelters and the distance between them. Finally, a two-edged strategy for dealing with the news media is advocated. Survivors should be maximally protected, but at the same time the press must be regularly and appropriately briefed, in order to use their potential for disseminating information to the survivors and the public.

Placement code: 
Yzermans collectie