BY: DIEGO GOMEZ
With Hurricane Harvey being formed a month ago in Houston, just recently Hurricane Irma attacking Florida, La Tuna Fire damaging south Los Angeles County and even registered earthquakes in south Mexico with possible catastrophic aftermaths chaos is upon us.
Although Long Beach residents can remain calm against soon to happen natural disasters, it is vital to stay informed on how to help during difficult times. Being prepared to face a potential natural disaster is necessary as well.
The Emergency Natural Disaster Program at California State University, Long Beach is monitoring natural hazards happening around us. Allyson Joy, Assistant Preparedness Emergency Coordinator, is crucial in helping students and faculty at The Beach face a possible natural disaster. Nonetheless, she says earthquakes are on the top of the list in safety for the university.
“Whenever we run over to our list of what is going to impact us we are worried about earthquakes or even a plane crash,” Joy said. “We are watching the hurricanes and the wildfires for situational awareness. We also have a close relationship with the Red Cross, we are really just keeping an eye on it.”
This past month, the Equal Opportunity Program alongside the Black Student Union was hosting a Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort outside The Walter Pyramid. Water bottles, blankets and toiletries were some of the donations delivered to later on transport them to West Angels Church in Los Angeles and afterwards shipped to Houston.
John Hamilton, Assistant Director of EOP was one of the main pioneers of this important effort in helping after Hurricane Harvey. He says this project was on route the moment the hurricane became news on August 17.
“I began this project about three weeks ago when the hurricane hit, I wanted to do something to pick people´s spirits up,” he said. “We got students and staff to volunteer together and help out the victims of Harvey. It has been going so far so good. This is completely about giving back, our mission in EOP has always to serve communities.”
Dr. Carmen Taylor says last Saturday´s relief effort was a wonderful initiative.
“I think in light of the tragedy in Texas, a number of our student organizations came together to show support,” said the Vice-President for Student Affairs at CSULB. “I think this is great, because our university is about service. This service project serves a mission that our school believes in.”
Although Dr. Taylor says Mother Nature is what it is making other tragedies happen, she firmly believes the university is obligated to give this aid out to Houston.
“We took the initiative to take part of this relief effort,” she said. “I highly believe the highest commitment we can give others is service. It is good to be at The Beach because we care as a family and we always work together.”
Joy says Long Beach students are always proactive in lending a hand in this kind of tragedies.
“When ever this happens, there is usually student clubs who do donations for the really big disasters,” said Joy. “We had it after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and Hurricane Sandy. Everything that is getting media attention our students are very passionate in mobilizing to help.”
Johnny Wallace, 20, came at 9 A.M. sharp on a Saturday morning to donate. Even though this is part of his personal projects, he said he was happy CSULB was doing this initiative.
“I came to donate because I have a project in making survival kits for my community,” said Los Cerritos College student. “This is a small step towards a bigger journey in my plans. There are many other outreaches but it is cool Cal State Long Beach is doing this. Let´s see where it goes and I hope they keep on doing it.”
According to an algorithm formula directed by specialists in USA.com, the chance of earthquake damage in Long Beach is much higher than the California and national average. In fact, the city of Long Beach had the historically deadliest California quake in 100 years, happening on March 10, 1933.
Joy says students and faculty have to be ready for an eventual natural disaster.
“The best thing you can do is to take steps to prepare yourself,” she said. “You can take small steps into being prepared. Build up an emergency kit, plan an evacuation plan, students can also see our resources in the university police department website, we have emergency guides and material of how to prepare yourself. Any student group can ask us for a emergency training.”
Joy says that sometimes the common citizen becomes a hero during an unavoidable causality.
“When something big happens like we are seeing on the news today, or looking at past disasters when it is so large that everyone is overwhelmed, the people who can help is the average citizen,” she said. “Parents, students or maybe neighbors, if a disaster is big enough you will not be able to call 911. You are going to have to be self-sufficient. The best thing is to start preparing towards the safety steps and seek training.”