6 Tips on How to Treat a Victim of a Natural Disaster
In the past week, one of the biggest natural disasters in American history hit the Texas coast. Thousands of people have been and are still being rescued, and hundreds of thousands have lost their homes. Danielle Dauphinet survived the Great Flood of 2016 in Baton Rouge and was recently interviewed on what it was like to watch her home become flooded and only escape with her family.
“We were lost at that point. You can get stuck in the moment when you’re looking at your house with two feet of water, and all your belongings are floating, but it was comforting knowing my family and our animals were safe.” Dauphinet said.
Hurricane Harvey dropped over 50 inches of rain in the last week, breaking Texas’s tropical storm cyclone record. As survivors continue to flee to relative’s houses and shelters, there is something as well as donations that can help, and that is to know how to treat them after this disaster.
“We didn’t have nationwide coverage or FEMA. We too had to help each other.” Dauphinet said.
Here are six tips on how to treat a victim of a natural disaster.
Don’t Say, “It’s Just Stuff, It Can Be Replaced”
“We are not just talking couches. We are talking children’s toys and clothes that they lovingly picked out. It’s not just stuff, it’s memories.” Dauphinet said. Family safety is the most important thing, but it can be incredibly emotional for the victims to watch the things they have worked hard for be soaked in sewage water and dumped on the street.
Don’t Say, “Let Me Know If I Can Help”
Dauphinet explained, as a victim, she felt guilty asking for help when there were so many other victims who were also in need. “Just show up with food and necessities and say, Point me in the direction where I can work and help,” Dauphinet said.
Don’t Say, “It’s Okay”
“Give them a hug and tell them, “It freaking sucks right now, but it will get better eventually,” Dauphinet said. Encourage them to make a plan and take one step at a time. The situation will seem overwhelming at moments, and they need a realistic hope for the future.
Tell Them They Are Not Alone
“Find comfort in the kindred spirits of the moment. Knowing I was not alone was comforting.” Dauphinet said. Harvey has and will continue to affect hundreds of thousands of people. Telling them, they are not alone can give them the support they need to take the first step to rebuilding their lives.
Keep Your Word
Some victims only have each other to depend on, and they need everyone involved to do what they say they are going to do. “People said they wanted to help at the house, but I was up to my ears in work. I needed people to show up with boots and a crowbar and put an hour in.” Dauphinet said.
Give Them Something to Do
“Psychological comfort is good, but they need to get out of their heads at this point. It can become overwhelming if they are just sat down and talked to. Be proactive and let them know they can do something.” Dauphinet said. Harvey has brought devastation but also unity, and each willing individual can do something to help their family and their neighbors.