How to Help Disaster Survivors

journalist, story teller and author of Muddy Waters

Lisa Tracy

What happens when the first responders in disasters are also the survivors? Lisa Tracy told their stories in her book, Muddy Waters: The Legacy of Katrina and Rita. A life-long journalist and author, Lisa was asked by the American Public Health Association to write the stories of the first responders. Lisa interviewed them and wrote the book in two short months after Hurricane Katrina. It was an emotional and eye-opening experience. The purpose was to share the lessons learned by the responders and be better prepared for the next disaster.
Though these are sad events, this conversation between crisis responder Dr. Nancy O’Reilly and storyteller Lisa Tracy emphasize the connection between people everywhere and the humanity these horrific events bring out in the survivors and the first responders. Dr. Nancy shares her personal crisis response stories from the fires near San Diego, 911 and the most recent, Joplin, Missouri. Lisa mentions that even in her small town in Virginia, money is being collected for Joplin tornado survivors. And Lisa stresses that the Muddy Waters responders urge people to keep their pictures on CDs. It’s the memories that people miss most when everything they have is destroyed.
There is much more about how everyone can be a first responder and how to help. These disasters have taught us many lessons and information is now easy to get. Check the website

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