The Amazon forest caught on fire again this August 2019. More than 75,000 fire outbreaks have been recorded in Brazil’s Amazon forest this year. In September, a forest fire also broke out in Indonesia, sending a thick cloud of smog in neighboring countries, while a 20,000-acre wildfire destroyed parts of California. Firefighters put fire hydrant pumps into action, dropped water from the sky, and fought fire with fire.
Greta Thunberg, the climate activist from Sweden, speaking at a congressional hearing, implored lawmakers not to listen to her but instead to listen to the scientists and what they say about global warming. Greta demanded that the U.S. Congress should act. This is Greta’s crusade.
Fire in the west. Hurricanes in the east. More disasters will happen. Thousands will probably die again, while many more, hopefully, will survive. How can you help following a natural disaster?
Experts advise that victims traumatized by natural disasters should join a local support group. Victims sharing their experience help fellow victims in coping with the effects of a traumatic experience.
You can help by finding out where these groups meet and offer to provide snacks or help distribute flyers to invite other victims to join the group.
Do Not Self-deploy
The kneejerk reaction is to self-deploy in the areas affected by the disaster or to send goods (e.g., clothes, food, etc.). Mike Yoder, coordinator of emergency programs in North Carolina said that this should be avoided. Products need to be unpacked, sorted, and distributed. This is a process that takes time, which many first responders do not have. Contributing to funds via the organized efforts of volunteer agencies, local government, and faith-based organizations is the best way to aid victims.
Care for the Children
The house is still ankle-deep in water. Parents are arguing with the insurance company. Kids need to go to school or need to be transported to a safer place. These are all additional stress on top of the trauma.
You can help by being an interim caregiver to children. Doing so relieves the stress from all family members and allow children to recover in a calmer environment.
Volunteering in organizations that are familiar with running relief operations is more impactful. Organizations like the American Red Cross or UNICEF would know how to use an extra pair of hands, more efficiently.
Welcome People in Your Home
You still have yours. Theirs burned down or is underwater. Welcome them into your home and offer food. This will go a long way in their recovery process.
Offer Your Services for Free
If you’re a medical practitioner or a nurse, offer your services for free to treat not only victims with physical injuries but those that have been severely traumatized by disasters. Stress and anxiety persist for many people long after the hazards have passed. This can lead to mental health issues.
If you’re a web developer or designer, see how you can coordinate with other organizations in creating a website that can, for example, track people who are missing.
Donating funds will have the most significant impact on the victims, but volunteering your time, skills, and effort can also help ease the pain.