Oh Cyclone Debbie, what a disaster!
Many people think that a quick recovery from disaster is a good recovery. However, Dr Rob Gordon, Australia’s leading disaster/trauma recovery psychologist explains that taking time to think, to ensure you have energy to make good plans and allowing space to explore all options leads to much healthier and happier long term outcomes.
A disaster is usually such a profound and complex experience that it changes everything. It is different from other types of crisis we can face in daily life. Pushed to the limits through disaster, it can take somewhere between 3-6 weeks for people to even just settle and come back to their baseline.
Many people in our region will only just be starting to come to terms with the loss and disruption they are facing. Recovery is a long road.
Initially, there is a strong focus from all around to clean up and restore or replace what is lost. Community spirit rises to the fore, people come together in acts of selfless kindness, generosity and camaraderie. It can be difficult and humbling for some people to accept this help. But as we have seen, technology and social media offer new avenues for creating and coordinating assistance that can be very successful.
However, when disasters are widespread, like this one, some of the most heart-breaking challenges can happen afterwards, as a result of a growing sense of separation among victims. Media and fundraising efforts focusing attention on certain towns and varying levels of government support are just a couple of ways people can start to feel isolated and ‘fall through the gaps’.
On-going community support and compassion is vital as the true basis of recovery is for people to form an entirely new foundation for their life post disaster. To do this, they need time and space to process the grief and loss, especially the loss of their life as they knew it.
To demonstrate on-going support and the impact this event had across the Northern Rivers as a WHOLE community, a new project ‘Wrap Up Northern NSW’ has been launched. The project aims to collect 48,000 knitted squares to collate into 1000 hand made blankets to be distributed across the region.
The blankets will become tangible ‘keepsakes’ to represent the on-going care of the wider community wrapping up those on a journey home from this disaster and beyond.
By Emily J Rooney | www.thehomealchemist.com