With Isaac poised to make landfall in the same areas of the Gulf Coast struck by Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, the American Red Cross has a series of tips for families and individuals in the region that may experience anxiety about the storm and anniversary.
“The combination of the approaching storm and Katrina anniversary will likely cause increased fear and unease for residents in New Orleans and along coastal communities as people relive difficult emotions,” said Rob Yin, manager of disaster mental health. “It’s important that people remember to take care of themselves and make appropriate disaster preparations to stay safe which can also help to reduce stress. Don’t forget to reach out to others to offer or get help if you need it.”
Across multiple states along the Gulf, the Red Cross has launched a large disaster response as Isaac affects millions of lives with strong winds, heavy rain, flooding and coastal surges. Last night, nearly 800 people found a safe haven in 52 shelters open in five states. In addition, the Red Cross has mobilized 2,400 disaster workers, prepositioned 290,000 ready-to-eat meals and activated 187 emergency response vehicles from across the country to help. The Red Cross is also coordinating with multiple partners including a variety of civic groups, advocacy organizations, professional organizations and houses of worship to share their expertise and volunteers.
The Red Cross recommends that people be mindful that community members and disaster workers could experience anniversary reactions now or in the near future. Reactions can range from a mild upset for a day or two, to a stronger version with anxiety or depression. Most people will feel better within a week or two after the anniversary date as stress responses usually become less frequent and less severe over time.
Anniversary reactions could include:
The following actions can help families and individuals cope with anniversary stress reactions:
Isaac is predicted to trigger a large and prolonged disaster response with major flooding across several states. People can call, click or text to donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.