Thursday, January 14, 2010

Coping During Disasters

By Gabriela Cora, M.D., M.B.A.

The earthquake in Haiti hit the most impoverished nation in the Western hemisphere. A land already struck by hurricanes, the loss of life in the thousands magnifies the catastrophe exponentially. What to do onsite and what to in the States when family members worry about loved ones?
Aside from the physical devastation caused by natural disasters, the psychological short and long-term impact may be even more damaging. Keeping up to date with the latest news while not overdoing this all day long will help you cope with the situation. 

Additionally, taking control of simple habits, accepting help, eating, drinking clear water and having some sleep will help through the difficult aftermath. One particularly challenging area is keeping children safe both physically as well as psychologically. As an adult in charge of your own children or caring for other children during a disaster, it’s most important to provide for physical safety, keep them busy helping out others, if they can, and allow them to share their fears and worries. 
Visit Switchboard Miami for additional hotline assistance, available in Creole.

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