top of page

Human Performance Blog

For the Supporters and the Affected: After the Flood (Trinidad 2018)

Private and Corporate Trinidad and Tobago have really stepped up in the wake of devastating flooding from the heavy, and consistent rains that displaced many from their homes across Trinidad this past week.

As citizens near and far have rallied together to help each other I am reminded of our motto;

Together we Aspire, Together we Achieve.

A national sentiment being proven true in this trying time.

In 2005, I had the unfortunate experience of living through this kind of destruction (albeit arguably worse) as an international student in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. As a result, I know and understand all too well the kind of trauma that many affected and those that are in supportive roles face.

My time in New Orleans, the aftermath of the damage, and the enduring rebuilding process has given me personal insight into what those affected experience, what they can do to cope and what support persons need to know to be effective.

The question that can help conceptualize what is happening and what needs to happen is…

What do people need?

There is a hierarchy of needs, built like a pyramid of 5 levels, within 3 categories introduced by Maslow (1943).

The first category is BASIC NEEDS, which include Physiological Needs (food, water, warmth, sleep) and Safety Needs (security, health, shelter).

The second category is PSYCHOLOGICAL NEEDS, which include Belongingness and Love (friendships, relationships, connection) and Esteem Needs (respect, freedom, self-esteem).

The third category is SELF-FULLFILLMENT NEEDS, which include Self-Actualization (achievement, potential, creativity).

Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

Immediately after a crisis, the Basic Needs are important. And there have been many people that have valiantly answered this call, eager to assist in any way they can with food supplies and shelter for those displaced.

In the coming days though, as the proverbial dust settles and the water recedes, the Psychological Needs will be an area hopefully addressed with the same rigor as the basic needs. The challenge with psychological needs is that they are intangible, long lasting, toxic and can be masked by a public smile. It adjusts your perception of the world and changes the way you feel about simple, unavoidable things…that once brought you comfort, like the sound of rain (little self-disclosure)

Many victims of trauma find it difficult to address this need, especially when they do not have access to services or have a negative perception to services that can help.

For those Affected…(3 things)

-It is ok, to not be ok…cliche I know, but very important. You have family, friends, and loved ones that may be depending on you to be strong for those that aren’t or cant be.

There is strength in seeking help, talk to someone. You would be putting yourself in a position to be stronger, be more dependable, be mentally fit to help the people you care about and yourself.

-Normalcy is important. Things are different now and they will be for a while, or even forever as the memory of this experience and the invaluable things lost lives on within your mind and heart.

Find a routine and Keep it simple. This helps your mind reboot itself as it adjusts to your new normal.

-Stay calm. In moments of panic when things feel out of control, all over, or will fall apart.

Ground yourself.

*Look up….see something, Reach out…touch something, Inhale….smell something, Speak…hear something. These are the things that are real.

*Breathe - Put a hand on your chest, put a hand on your stomach and slow it down. This is what you are in control of.

For those Helping…(3 things)

-This is personal. You are doing a great thing by making yourself available and making financial sacrifices. Please remember that this is a life that is being touched. Avoid getting caught up in the physical act of giving, and wrap your hearts around the emotional act of giving. They, we need to be seen as human, to exist…instead of as a charity case.

-Involve others. We talk about how humanity is dying. Take your kids with you when you are buying goods, when you are sharing goods (when it is safe to do so).

Ask them what they would want…and let them give that! Teach them what it means to be human, be a giver, be socially responsible.

-Listen. There are many people to be helped, there are many helpers, and there are many ways to help. Listen to the stories, let them know that they are being heard. It doesn’t stop with you here. If you come across people in need, please refer to a qualified professional.

Thank you for reading, sharing and absorbing.

For the affected…Thank you for taking a step to getting your needs met.

For the helpers…Thank you for being a beacon of light in the life of another.

bottom of page