Nov 28, 2020 in Coursework

Responding Organizations

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In the wake of Hurricane Katrina that hit the coastal regions of the United States on the 26th of August, 2005, the government declared the calamity as a national disaster. This decision by the government followed the enormous losses that were experienced by the people inhabiting New Orleans, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida just to mention but a few of the most prevalently hit states. The declaration implied a call for external help because the National Guard, the National Hurricane Center, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Non-Governmental Organizations were being overwhelmed by the number of people who were incapacitated, injured, dead, and even those who were raising alarm in need for emergency services (McAdams & Keener, 2008). At this demanding time, the American Red Cross came in handy by implementing the American Red Cross Intervention Model. The model was complemented by the vulnerable populations model in ensuring that lives and property were rescued.

The Red Cross Intervention Model stands out as a dominant model because it has been applied in several instances, especially during real-time emergencies. This model was strongly supported by Judith Saunders, a psychosocial consultant (Saunders, 2007). Having presented herself as a volunteer during the occurrence of Hurricane Katrina, Judith shares the essential aspects of the model. The Vulnerable Populations Model, as it was incorporated into the Red Cross Intervention Model, is categorical in its provision of amicable channels that can be used by responding organizations to save lives and salvage property. Amazingly, the model focuses on encouraging victims of disaster by guiding and counseling them into accepting their current situations.

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The Vulnerable Populations Model also encourages mental therapists and health practitioners to consider the whole community as patients. This concept is opposed to the models that specifically target individuals during a disaster because, in one way or the other, members of these communities are either traumatized or suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD). Using the model, the American Red Cross encouraged health workers to provide all the vulnerable groups of people with acceptable and effective care. This model was applauded because it encourages the administration of care to the vulnerable populations who need it most. After all, they are desperate and helpless. Community-based guidance and counseling centers are the most strategic locations where guidance services can be offered by socio-psychologists. Moreover, temporary shelters that were set up in Texas acted as a strategic point to settle evacuees because they could be easily reached by volunteers and other support services. By so doing, the premise on which the model was grounded is attained because aid is made available to vulnerable populations. 

Running parallel to the Vulnerable Populations model employed by the American Red Cross is the Crisis Intervention for Communities (CIC) Model, which aims at rejuvenating the mental health of the evacuates and other vulnerable populations (Richard, 1974). The model as it was advocated for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was essential in directing and converging the efforts of health practitioners into providing quality services to the people. Going by the theories underlying the model, it is prudent to note that the model was designed as a tool necessary to instigate empowerment of the afflicted populations after the occurrence of a disaster. As a disaster response model, CIC has mostly been used by practitioners to empower communities by not only counseling them but also providing people with essential skills necessary for them to regain their homeostasis, especially after being afflicted by disaster. Collectively, the model is rich in guiding principles necessary when handling humanitarian situations aimed at encouraging recovery of the dilapidated communities and tainted psychological paths.

Looking deeper into the inert features that make up the model, Marbley in the journal In the Wake of Hurricane Katrina Delivering Crisis Mental Health Services to Host Communities shows his appreciation for the model citing that the model offers an interdisciplinary viewpoint that initiates the interaction between education, mental health, sociology, anthropology, and social psychology (Marbley, 2008). McAdams & Keener (2008) also recommend the CIC model by supporting its integration of multidisciplinary tenets, assumptions, strategies, and principles in addressing the secondary trauma and psychological crisis faced by the vulnerable populations and communities.

To this end, it is evident that, despite the similarities assimilated in the two models such as the emphasis on recovery and mental health, the CIC model provides a more corrigible framework that can easily help the healing process after a disaster. Specifically, the Vulnerable Populations model is more applicable during a disaster while the CIC model is suitable in handling the aftermath of a disaster. The elements of targeting communities supported by the Vulnerable Populations Model might distract health practitioners from reaching specific individuals who might be in dire need of counseling or help. Therefore, it is recommended that counselors and health workers apply the CIC model which advocates for the relocation of individuals from the trauma experienced by communities to suitable communities hosting evacuates as a way of easing their bad or damaged memories (Ouellette, 2008).

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