|EMSB REACTS TO TRAGIC TYPHOON IN PHILIPPINES|
MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 15, 2013 – The English Montreal School Board is providing its schools and centres with guidelines to its population in the wake of the powerful typhoon which devastated cities, towns and fishing villages in the Philippines, leaving an untold number of deaths
“During the month of November when nature seems to quietly fall asleep and prepare to rest under a blanket of snow, we are made aware that nature has a distinct way of reminding us of the unpredictability and uncontrollable devastation which it can, at times, leash upon our human population,” EMSB Director General Robert Stocker stated in a message sent out to schools and centres.
The city of Tacloban alone may have upwards of 10,000 deaths. There are 630,000 displaced persons, and Vietnam has also met the onslaught of this storm. The number of deaths, missing persons and injuries is unknown as bodies are strewn along the streets and shores of the islands.
“Although we, at the EMSB, are miles away from this disaster, we are brought together in this global world by instant media coverage of this disaster, and our hearts reach out to those families who are suffering from this natural devastation,” noted Mr. Stocker. “Practically all of our schools have parents and students who are from the Philippines, and who may be personally affected by this storm. Following an inexplicable traumatic event of this nature, even if it happens to those far away, each person is affected in a personal way. Although each person reacts differently, according to his/her personality and life experiences, there is a wide range of normal feelings and reactions that are generated by these horrific events. Those who are particularly vulnerable because of previous traumatic experiences may suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.”
Mr. Stocker said it is important for principals to be aware of the common reactions to trauma/stress and to alert their staff and community in order to help them to cope with the experience in their unique manner. If students and/or staff seem to require particular attention, they are urged to contact the professionals (i.e. psychologist, guidance counselor, spiritual community animator, social worker from the CLSC, etc.) in the school community.
As a way of responding to this destruction, schools are being reminded that they can organize fund raising activities, and donations may be made to the Canadian Red Cross, indicating Typhoon Haiyan at 1~OO-418-1111 or online at: http://www.redcross.caldonate/donate-online/donate-to-the-typhoon-haiyan-fund.
Michael J. Cohen