Flooded out: What would you do?


June 9th, 2011

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A massive tornado hit Joplin, Missouri, on May 22nd, killing over 140 people. (Photo credit Wikimedia commons/KOMUnews)

Omaha, NE – What would you do if you had to move out of your home because of the rising Missouri River? How would you react, and how would the move affect your daily life?

Over the past couple of months, there have been a number of natural disasters around the country. Several deadly tornadoes have wreaked havoc across the Midwest. And now, with the Missouri River on the rise, some people in surrounding areas have to deal with flooding, forcing them to evacuate their communities and their homes. Robin Zagurski is a therapist at UNMC’s psychiatry department, specializing in disaster response counseling. Although Zagurski said they haven’t noticed an increase in calls or patients, she says dealing with flood disasters can be a difficult time for people.

“With flooding, since we have some time before the actual event occurs, in some ways the disaster starts to occur for the person as they’re anticipating the event.”

On Friday, KVNO News will report on a family who is evacuating their home that’s expected to be under two feet of water by the end of the week. (Photo credit Wikimedia commons/FEMA).

“So, what we see is usually some anxiety about what might happen,” Zagurski added. “Maybe some concerns about what they might lose, and how it might affect their future, including their future financial stability.”

Zagurski said if someone does have to evacuate from their home, it is important for them to keep their normal routine.

“We expect common reactions; people can be angry, or sad, or irritable,” she said. People may “grieve about what is happening, and sometimes even become numb trying to shut off those emotions and go into denial, all common reactions.”

“It only becomes a problem when you feel like it’s a problem and when the people around you start mentioning that they think you’re overreacting, or they’re concerned about your reaction, or if you really can’t function in daily life. Then we would like for you to talk to a professional,” she added.

Stay tuned to KVNO News later this week for more stories on the impact of the Missouri River flooding. On Friday, we’ll meet a family who is evacuating their home that’s expected to be under two feet of water by the end of the week.

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