Social Workers Role in Disaster

Serving as Recovery Workers in Times of Crisis

Social workers play an important role in helping communities recover from natural disasters, as well as manmade catastrophes. The positive impact of their work is immeasurable. Your social work degree can put you in position to assist close to home or deploy as part of a global relief effort.

Typhoon Hayian

This event not only impacted 11 million people in the Philippines, it also had a deep emotional effect on the millions of Filipinos living elsewhere in the world. Right now, an army of global social workers are on the ground helping the most vulnerable, reconnecting lost relatives, and providing mental health support to Filipino families everywhere.

Oklahoma Tornadoes

Moore, Oklahoma, is one a growing list of Midwestern towns that have fallen victim to Mother Nature’s fury. The entire community was flattened, including several schools. Experienced social workers know that the immediate work to soothe broken lives is just the beginning. They stand ready to assist over the long term knowing that a life-changing event like this can result in depression, PTSD and suicide.

Colorado Flooding

After the hard work of digging mud out of homes, reclaiming cherished belongings and removing sewage from the streets, came the real task of rebuilding lives. Teams of social workers descended upon communities to help residents deal with anger, insomnia and problems with relationships that may have already been strained before the floods.

Hurricane Sandy

More than one year after the devastation, the scars of loss continue to heal. Homes, people and local landmarks have been lost forever. The joy has gone out of life for so many, only to be replaced by anger and frustration in dealing with insurance companies, FEMA and the other realities of rebuilding. Social workers remain on the scene, helping families return to normalcy in a world that will never be the same.

Boston Marathon Bombing

People of all ages, across Massachusetts and the entire nation, were horrified at what occurred in Boston. Social workers found that unlike a natural disaster, the aftermath of the bombing was hardest on the area’s population of military veterans who had served in war zones and never expected to see the same kind of bloodshed on American streets.

Sandy Hook Massacre

One person with a gun took away 26 lives and a lifetime sense of security in this Connecticut town. Social workers are not only tasked with helping parents who lost children and a community that lost its innocence, they also have an ongoing challenge in ensuring that mentally ill, potentially violent persons get treatment.

To learn more how you can make a difference during recovery efforts like these, check out University of New England’s Online MSW program.

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