Are you like me, watching the impact of Hurricane Harvey in complete horror?
What a huge sense of loss and grief for so many victims!
Thankfully, the rescue efforts are nothing short of heroic. Volunteers and first responders are taking risks and working diligently to rescue and assist thousands of individuals who are stranded by this tragic weather event.
I also appreciate that from all over our country trucks of supplies and more volunteers are on their way to the affected areas. It is truly amazing to watch the varied crisis response teams move into action, willing to help in any way possible.
The spirit of America has always been to help those in great need.
As I watched several volunteers pull two senior adults out of their flooded home, I was grateful for the extraordinary efforts of such selfless people.
Hurricane Harvey is truly one of those traumatizing events that can occur in someone’s lifetime.
I saw photos of a family sleeping on a kitchen counter with about 2 feet of water in their kitchen. Imagine the fear and sense of being trapped while waiting for someone to come and rescue you! There is no way to know when that rescue might happen—or even if it will.
My point is that both children and adults will be forever impacted by this tragic weather event.
There will certainly be grief and worry over all that has been lost, but there will also be some degree of emotional wounding for each individual who experienced the storm firsthand…those who have been helpless, stranded and trapped…or in a life-threatening dilemma. They will be forever impacted. Yes, they will need a place to process their emotional trauma.
It is my hope that there will be support systems for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. But moreover, I hope training and support will be provided for all those who are working with the victims.
Workers and volunteers will also be traumatized by continued exposure to this degree of devastation. As valiant as their efforts have been or will be, the intense complications and destruction caused by this event will be tremendously difficult for everyone to handle, whether victim or volunteer.
Homelessness becomes real as trauma becomes complex.
So many victims are finding themselves homeless and hopeless right now.
I plead for a response that is not only practical in helping them get their physical needs met, but also a compassionate one with a level of psychological and emotional care particularly for the children involved.
Children really have no way to process such devastation to their families without the help of someone who knows how to talk to them intentionally, someone with training in trauma-informed care who will patiently allow them to process all that this tragedy means for them. This will be an overwhelming task, and hopefully, families and friends will also be sources of support and care.
Our thoughts and prayers go with all those who are impacted.
This is truly one of the greatest weather tragedies that the people of Texas have ever faced. It will be some time before these families affected will even be able to get back to their homes, but also a much longer period before they can assess and rebuild.
Consequently, I hear even more rain (and therefore more difficulties) is coming; so, this support needs to be ongoing. I hope we can step forward as a country and be a model of support for all those in such significant need and who have been emotionally traumatized.
It is time for all of us to rally and support the relief efforts that are quickly moving to respond to our Texas friends. Let’s all give, volunteer, offer support and be resources to those who we may know who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
While the stories are both tragic and heroic, most of all, this is a time for a meaningful response. We need to give those who have been impacted our resources, energy and hope as they strive to overcome such difficult obstacles.
It will be quite a journey but we can have huge positive result if we stay engaged and provide for the diverse needs of all those who have been victimized!
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside