Students Are Now Majoring in Emergency Managent and Disaster Response

The devastation in Japan left many students asking what they could do to help.

When I was in kindergarten, the OKC Murrah Building was blown up by a bomb. This experience was quite shocking for me, but since it was not in my town, I was not nearly as affected by this disaster as Carlene Pinto. When Pinto was in middle school, she watched the second World Trade Center Tower crash to the ground and then walked home as paperwork and dust fell from the sky all around her. Lindsay Yates was another young child who saw disaster strike her hometown when Hurricane Fran killed 24 people in her state. What do we three women have in common besides tragic events in our childhoods? We could all study disaster mental health at SUNY New Paltz.

The university is one of many schools that are now offering programs that focus on emergency management and disaster response. This new trend is in direct response to the numerous catastrophes that have plagued our nation and the world in recent years. In 2001, there were only about 70 emergency-management programs in the USA; today, that number is more than 230.

“This generation has never known a time without terrorism or disaster, and I think it has drawn many of them to this field,” said Karla Vermeulen of the Institute for Disaster Mental Health. “They were 10 at the time of 9/11 and 14 during Katrina, and it’s really shaped them.”

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How Students Can Help in the Japanese Relief Efforts

On March 11, 2011, an 8.9 earthquake rocked the ocean floor near Japan, causing an enormous tsunami to wash onto the north-eastern coasts of Japan. Cars, homes, and ships were swept away when the tsunami came to land. It has been said that this is the most powerful earthquake to ever strike Japan. The death toll is expected to pass 1,000 and many more are injured, have lost their homes, and have no place to go.

What can we students in the USA do to help? Many of us would love to go to Japan and help with the relief efforts firsthand. However, if you can’t be there, you can still help. Here’s a list of several relief organizations that are accepting donations to help Japan.

The American Red Cross is accepting $10 donations through text messages. Similar to the campaign in Haiti after their earthquake, people only need to send a text message to 90999 with REDCROSS in the message, and they can donate $10 immediately to help the Red Cross’s efforts.

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