Hurricane Relief with Heart

Dr. Dave Campbell investigates how the Florida Panhandle is working to recover from Hurricane Michael

Click HERE to view the MSNBC Morning Joe show segment.

 

The devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Michael was almost unequivocal to any other storm in the area in past decades. Not since Hurricane Andrew have particular Florida communities experienced such ravishing. Especially hit hard were several communities in the state’s panhandle.

Dr. Dave Campbell and Louis Burgdorf traveled to the Florida Panhandle to explore the damage, but more importantly, to report on the recovery efforts. What they found was uplifting, unbelievable, and proved to be an amazing testament to the human spirit.

 

Hurricane Michael 1

 

Driving along Highway 98, Mexico Beach, Tyndall Airforce Base, Panama City, and the small city of Marianna—it all looked like a nuclear bomb had struck. Homes were destroyed beyond recognition and people had been trapped from the debris in the path of their rescue. Surprisingly, what the visitors found were people everywhere—all helping one another. There was a deep sense of gratitude on everyone’s part that they (and their loved ones) were still alive. Materials could be replaced, but not human lives.

Humanitarian efforts opened a clinic offering free medication and healthcare to those who lost absolutely everything, including their daily meds. Free hot meals were being prepared, cooked out of wheelbarrows; people were bringing food from their freezers in droves, to be cooked and shared with the community. There was no separation of religion, skin-color, age, or financial status. As a professor from Princeton University remarked, “(We witnessed) the power of community in a time of crisis. It’s just a kernel of what the country CAN be.” A volunteer from one of the local church-based groups noted, “We just want to be a blessing others.”

Indeed, they were. And continue to be…

Click HERE to view the MSNBC Morning Joe show segment.

Hurricane Michael 3

 

The Stress After the Storm: Will There Be Relief?

The aftermath of natural disasters, such as the flooding from Hurricane Harvey, can be devastating. Injury, illness, loss of property, and sadly, loss of lives are part of the storm’s destructive path. What many health experts, however, are also hoping to bring to awareness are the mental ramifications in which flood victims may suffer—and how they may get help.

Being There

You may have just experienced (or experienced in the past) a natural disaster event. If you have, you already understand the feelings of pain, grief, and loss that accompany and follow the event. If you have been fortunate enough to stay safe from a catastrophic event (such as an earthquake, flood, or fire), it may help to understand what others have gone through in order to assist.

Stormy Consequences

Needless to say, the flooding in and of itself creates disastrous results. But there are other elements that can accompany the negative effects of the rising water. Some of them are:

  • Displacement of creatures. Reptiles, such as snakes and alligators can be found in flood waters. Pictures of swarms of floating red ants surfaced from the recent hurricane in Texas.
  • Unseen objects in the water. There can be debris like glass or other materials that can cut or injure you.
  • Electric currents may still be live. Electric lines can be under the water carrying dangerous voltage.
  • Human and animal waste. Feces can become combined in flood waters causing stomach illness, diarrhea, and E.coli infections.
  • Viruses and bacteria spread. Open wounds invite infection from tainted water. Insect populations rise, some carrying disease. Hygienic resources are sparse in populated shelters; humans can get each other sick.
  • Chemicals in the water. Pesticides, gasoline, and oil can linger in the water causing rashes, fungal infections, and in some cases, fires.
  • After the water dries. Once the flooding recedes, there is often damage from mold. Many flood victims wind up with respiratory illness from breathing in mold fumes.

Relief Is On The Way

The American Red Cross, FEMA, and other volunteers and contributors (both corporate and personal) have stepped up to assist the victims. Medical care has been made accessible to as many who can be reached. Temporary shelter is also being provided. Larger drug stores have helped with getting medication to those in need.

The mental trauma, however, may be more than many people can handle. Stress, anxiety, and depression can increase—especially for those with pre-existing mental health issues. Clinical social workers have been talking to victims in the larger shelters—listening, guiding, and offering solace and hope.

Signs in centers showing the symptoms of PTSD have been posted for the victims. Everyone is encouraged to seek help if they are struggling with unmanageable feelings. Many tears and lack of sleep are normal after experiencing a natural disaster.

One doctor (who also lost her home in Hurricane Harvey) said she and her children have been helping others in the shelter. She explained that it took their minds of their own woes by helping others. She also added that the community recovery effort is crucial.

-The American Red Cross is calling on mental health professionals to volunteer to help storm survivors.

-The National Alliance on Mental Illness is providing hotlines for people affected by the storm.

-Those who have strong bonds with friends, family members, and/or coworkers tend to mentally recover more quickly from the support and strength with others.

-The Health and Human Services Department offers a Disaster Distress Helpline to help those struggling with mental health problems resulting from the storm. That toll-free number, staffed by mental health professionals, is 1-800-985-5990.

You can help people affected by Hurricane Harvey by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS, or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Read up on other articles about achieving best physical and mental health, even in the most stressful of times. www,GetThrive.com.

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/27/health/health-consequences-flood-waters/index.html?utm_content=buffer55223&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/08/29/the-health-consequences-to-expect-from-hurricane-harveys-floods/?utm_term=.e1f4ab70e3ce

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hurricane-harvey-mental-health_us_59a9f092e4b0354e440a7b3f

 

 

A Natural Disaster – The Situation in Haiti

Where is Haiti now?

Weeks after the devastation of Hurricane Matthew, many individuals and organizations have come together to assist Haiti in many different ways.  Some brought medical supplies, tools and building materials, food, water, and clothing, while others arrived to help out in other ways.

Haiti had limited access to health care, water and sanitation before the hurricane, and significant cases of cholera.  Since the disaster, residents are still desperate to find shelter, avoid disease and feed their families.  Trucks filled with food and medicines have been arriving in the bigger cities but remote areas remain barely touched, and there is still a great continual need for food. 1

What are the conditions?

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the post-disaster that Hurricane Matthew left destroyed all food crops, and 90% of fruit and forest trees.  The country of Haiti relies on this production to meet basic needs for food, and livelihood. The agricultural damages were estimated to be 580 million in US dollars. Many of the farmland crops that were destroyed had been planted after the earthquake that shook this nation in 2010. This event has left the country in a major crisis that needs attention and has left many feeling hopeless. 2

Words cannot express the pain, devastation or hopelessness that those in Haiti have experienced and facing.  Disasters left behind unsanitary conditions which created an environment for disease and cholera has taken its toll on the residents of Haiti.

What has been done?

According to WHO, over 2 million Haitians were affected by Hurricane Matthew with an estimated 750,000 still in urgent need of humanitarian aid. 3  The water treatment facilities in Sud and GrandAnse were destroyed, and water distribution systems in the main cities of Jeremie, and Les Cayes were nearly collapsed causing the substantial increase in cholera.  When water sources have been interrupted, diarrheal diseases, including cholera threaten the population.   The World Health Organization released a cholera vaccination campaign on November 6, 2016, to help prevent an increase in the outbreak of cholera in vulnerable areas. 4

How can I help?

There are organizations that provide disaster relief and immediate response to emergency medical needs.  Americares is a non-profit global health organization that supports long-term health care initiatives for people in the United States and around the world.  Dr. Dave Campbell has been a part of their team providing awareness and support for the residents. 5

If you’re wondering what you do – Haiti can use your help.  Go to http://www.americares.org/, if you would like to donate or able to help with relief in Haiti.

Helping Haiti

“It is a kingly act to assist the fallen”.  These words were spoken by Mother Teresa during her travels helping the sick and impoverished.

Finding Happiness

Most of us believe that our purpose in life is to pursue happiness, but happiness is often an unattainable ideal.  Things that make us happy are often short lived once we acquire and achieve them. But not when it comes to helping someone in need. Somehow, when we see others in a desperate plight, it can shift our focus from what we lack to how we can make a difference.  It can take our pursuits down a more wholesome path and create a stronger fulfillment knowing we did something that mattered.  Helping others may give us an honest purpose and make our lives more meaningful.

Relief: On The Way

World Relief is an organization that responds to devastation created by disaster, health-related calamities and other worthy initiatives.  They facilitate funds and enable local churches to reach out and help their communities and are currently empowering local leaders in Haiti to direct their own relief efforts.

According to World Relief, Haitian officials reported that 350,000 residents are in need of immediate aid.  While they are taking action to help the urgent needs, they also implement programs to create sustainable growth and development.  Although it will take time to restore the communities in Haiti, high priority is currently for those who require medical attention, housing, clothing and food. Families can have their most basic needs met as the country works toward a healthy and prosperous future.

How To Help

If you wish to help those in Haiti, you can do so through the outreach programs of World Relief or other organizations you believe will improve the lives of the ones suffering in this devastated country. Happiness doesn’t have to be an elusive goal; making a difference in Haiti can help restore the lives of individuals and families and still bring fulfillment into your own life. Make the choice today to give your time, resources or energy to a worthy cause, and you’ll see how Mother Teresa’s words ring true in your heart.

To give to the World Relief fund for Haiti, go to http://www.worldrelief.org/.