Chile Miners Wrestling with Depression as Rescue Efforts Continue
Chile miners and rescue efforts are under way to secure the health, including the mental health, of 33 miners trapped since Aug. 5 in a mine in Chile. While most of the miners are reportedly in good health, several are reportedly suffering from depression, The Santiago Times reported Saturday.
Supplies including medicine, food and enriched oxygen must be sent through an opening in the 2,200-foot mine through a hole described by Chilean Health Minister Jaime Manalich by forming a circle with his hands, The Washington Post reported.
Rescue operations could take as long as three months, which means long-term health problems are a serious concern.
The miners were recently divided into three working groups to work on safety, fortification and other projects to keep spirits up. One group is assigned the task of collecting supply capsules sent from the surface. One trapped miner, Yonnie Barrios, has been assigned head of medicine.
Miners are sending up urine samples, which can be monitored for signs of serious illness. For three months, any conditions like appendicitis will have to be treated with medicine alone, the Post said.
Rodrigo Figueroa, head of the Stress and Disaster Unit at Catholic University in Santiago, said, "They are a tremendously cohesive group."
"They are disciplined and prepared for this kind of emergency, and preparation is fundamental," he said.