As the acute phase of a disaster gradually passes, you may need to start dealing with the post-disaster chaos which usually ensues. Below are several possible actions you can take. We hope this provides you with some initial ideas of what you can do during this phase.
After Acute Phase of Disaster
Contact your family and friends to make sure they are safe where necessary. You may also make use of social media such as Facebook's "Safety Check" function to inform your loved ones of your safety.
Your home may have suffered damages that are hard to notice. If you find any unusual conditions that can pose potential danger, such as being able to smell gas, leave your household immediately and call 999 for help. For more safety precautions, please visit Ready.gov.
If you cannot return home after a disaster, consider going to temporary shelters operated by Home Affair Department, which will be open in case of certain emergencies. Check if they are open before going. You can also look for other safe accommodation, e.g. a friend's or a relative's place.
Food and necessities
If you require food and other necessities, e.g. clothes and shampoo, to which you have no immediate access, you may seek help from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Hong Kong Red Cross, or your social support network, such as your neighbors.
Hong Kong government has set up Emergency Relief Fund to provide financial aid to those affected by specific emergencies, the approval of which is subject to applicants' eligibility. Details of the Fund are available on the website of Social Welfare Department.
Safety tips for clean up
Be careful during clean up. Take corresponding safety precautions, such as lifting bulky objects with at least two people, and handling broken glass with gloves. Look for more safety tips on the website of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Valuable records such as family photos and books may become soaked. The best way to dry them is to spread them out in cool and dry place. Avoid packing while drying to minimize the growth of mold, and avoid drying with direct sunlight or a dryer, both of which may cause permanent damage to the records. Click here to visit the website of US National Archives for more tips to save your treasures.
While cleaning up, you may find your property and possessions damaged by the disaster. Contact your insurance agent to lodge a claim. Remember to keep photos of the damages, and records of repair and cleaning cost to this end.
Your essential documents, e.g. identity card and passport, may be lost or damaged during a disaster. Contact relevant government departments or organizations to replace the documents. Here are some examples of essential documents and where to replace them:
Psychological recovery – building individual resilience
Taking good care of yourself amid a disaster enables you to resume functioning (see Response: How to Care for Myself). While some of you can pull yourself together after a short time, some require a longer time and more effort. What makes the difference?
It is resilience, the capability to bounce back from adversities. You can build resilience well ahead of disasters to help speed up recovery for yourself and others and prepare for future disasters：
Make good social connections
It is important to maintain good relationships with family and friends. You tend to have strong resilience when you know that you have assistance and social support from those who care about you.
- Set achievable goals
Develop realistic goals you are able to achieve. By accomplishing these goals, you can acquire a sense of empowerment.
- Look after your health
It is important to stay physically fit when coping with difficult times. Eat well, exercise regularly and get enough sleep so that you can stay in your best form as you try to overcome difficulties.
- Take a break at appropriate times
Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in relaxing and enjoyable activities when you feel stressed.
- Be accepting to changes in life
Accept that changes can happen and focus on circumstances you can control.
- Give active response to adverse situation
Instead of evading problems and stresses, take decisive actions to tackle adverse situations.
- Reflect on lessons learnt following the loss
People often grow one way or another after struggling with loss. Look for things you have learnt after going through tragedies and hardship
- Believe in yourself
Nurture positive view, develop confidence in problem-solving, and trust your instincts. These all help build resilience.
- Keep things in perspective
See stressful situations from a broad and long-term perspective to avoid blowing events out of proportion.
- Be optimistic
Instead of worrying about what concerns you, try to stay optimistic and anticipate the arrival of things positive.
Sometimes the road to recovery is rocky. If you feel adverse disruption to your daily life and that you have yet to get better, consider seeking help from professionals with reference to Resources: Professional Services.