FIJI COUP A NATIONAL HEADACHE

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (September 6, 2000 - Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat)---Doctors in Fiji have been kept busy treating people with non-specific complaints such as headaches and depression in the wake of the May 19 coup.

The ailments have affected young people who were kept away from school and suddenly find themselves faced with exams. Also, many adults under stress from losing their jobs due to the economic collapse resulting from the coup have also been reporting medical problems.

Dr. Sachida Mudaliar, president of the Fiji Medical Association, said also receiving constant medical attention are the hostages who were held captive for almost two months by coup leader George Speight and his armed rebels.

"They are having problems coping with the situation," Mudaliar said in an interview with Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat. "They are having nightmares and sleep deprivation from the events that they went through."

The hostages have also been reporting weight loss since the coup, he said.

The coup has also affected many Fiji residents’ mental health due their concern over a loss of security in the country.

"People are staying home and not going out in town," he said. "You don’t see many people out in town. Everyone rushes home before six (o’clock) to make sure they are not out in the dark."

He said Fiji will rebound from the crisis and that residents have been comforting each other in order to bring a renewed sense of normalcy to the community.

For additional reports from Radio Australia/Pacific Beat, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia/Pacific Beat.

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