Red Cross Provides Food, Shelter to Hundreds Hit by Isaac

Red Cross Provides Food, Shelter to Hundreds Hit by Isaac
I quickly try to assess whether they’re being re-traumatized from other disasters, what the impact has been on their family and especially the kids, and reassure them that they will make it through this.

A week after Hurricane Isaac made landfall in Louisiana, the American Red Cross continues to help those affected by the storm.

A week after Hurricane Isaac made landfall in Louisiana, the American Red Cross continues to help those affected by the storm.

On Monday night, approximately 830 people stayed in 16 Red Cross or community shelters in Louisiana and Mississippi. Along with giving people a safe place to stay, the Red Cross is also serving thousands of meals a day in partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention—more than 267,000 meals and snacks so far.

The Red Cross is also using hundreds of its emergency response vehicles to distribute meals and truckloads of relief supplies in affected neighborhoods. This work is being done by more than 2,700 trained Red Cross disaster workers, who are providing emotional support, food, water and supplies such as cleanup and personal hygiene items.

The Red Cross has also deployed skilled mental health workers who are trained in helping people cope with the strain of a disaster such as this.

Licensed social worker Susan Rosen, a Red Cross volunteer in Louisiana from Bend, Ore., has been staying in shelters, including the nights of Isaac’s landfall, working with children and their families.

“I quickly try to assess whether they’re being re-traumatized from other disasters, what the impact has been on their family and especially the kids, and reassure them that they will make it through this,” Rosen said. “We forget kids are aware of what’s going on but don’t have the capacity to understand what’s happening.”

Children are among the most susceptible to such mental strain, because they experience traumatic events differently. Events such as Hurricane Isaac can leave children feeling frightened, confused and insecure.

Because they can’t always talk about their worries, it sometimes comes out in their behavior, Rosen said. Some children may react immediately; others may be fine for weeks or months and then show troubling behavior. Knowing the signs that are common at different ages can help parents recognize problems and respond accordingly.

“They may be more agitated or act out; they may be more clingy or cry often; they may need more attention or reassurance from adults they trust,” Rosen said.

Here are a few tips for talking to children after a traumatic event:

  • Provide children with opportunities to talk
  • Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t have all the answers
  • Allow kids to discuss their fears and concerns
  • Answer questions appropriate for their age
  • Although the immediate event of Isaac has passed, the experience continues to have an impact on residents. It’s important to remain observant and alert to problems people, including children, may be having, especially as hurricane season continues.

    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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