Impact of disasters on mental health

What mental impact do disasters have on victims?Hurricanes, earthquakes and other major disasters take their toll not only on buildings and infrastructure, but also on the mental health of victims and volunteers. Monica M. Matthieu, Ph.D., disaster mental health expert, says, “It is important to realize that the community relationships and social network that we have before a disaster is the one that we will draw on for support and care after a disaster.” She is available to discuss the impact of disasters on victims, mental health professionals and volunteers; volunteering after a disaster; important disaster-related community resources; and how to develop a community network before a disaster.

New Orleans-style disaster could happen again — in California

Courtesy photo*Delta Primer*Is California vulnerable to a New Orleans-style levee break? The land in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where California’s two great rivers drain into San Francisco Bay, lies as much as 20 feet below sea level, warns Jane Wolff, author of Delta Primer: A Field Guide to the California Delta (2003). A breach on the scale of that in New Orleans would prove catastrophic for California — the world’s sixth-largest economy, home to approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population. In addition to property destruction, salt water from San Francisco Bay would migrate upstream, contaminating the water supply for much of Southern California, including major cities such as Los Angeles and San Diego.