After Fires, Floods, Hurricanes And Tornadoes--Then What?

Once the fires are out, the waters recede and the damage assessed, then what? How do people who have lost everything move forward?
Phoenix Rising by Dr. Noelle Nelson
Phoenix Rising by Dr. Noelle Nelson
CAMARILLO, Calif. - Aug. 26, 2021 - PRLog -- During the last several months we've seen wildfires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes--destroying hundreds of homes and displacing thousands of people. Once the fires are out, the waters recede and the damage assessed, then what? How do people who have lost everything move forward?

These questions are addressed in a new book by author and psychologist Dr. Noelle Nelson (, Phoenix Rising - Surviving Catastrophic Loss: Fires, Floods, Hurricanes and Tornadoes (Amazon ( The book explores the trauma of losing a lifetime of possessions in a disaster, how to survive the immediate aftermath and how to find the strength to start a new chapter moving forward.

"Nothing prepares us for the sudden destruction of our home by fire, flood, tornado or any other devastating disaster," says Nelson. "You think about a family picture, your favorite piece of clothing, a family heirloom and suddenly realize it's gone. Somehow, during an incredibly traumatic time, you have to rebuild everything, literally from the ground up."

Nelson writes from experience. Her home was lost in the 2018 Woolsey fire that burned 96,949 acres and destroyed 1,643 structures in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Here are Nelson's suggestions:

--Even while dealing with the shock of your loss, make the effort to contact your insurance companies, financial institutions, mortgage company and creditors and advise them of your situation. Write everything down (that may mean going to the store and buying a notepad and pen). "You'll have to process a lot of information at once. Now is not the time to rely on your memory," says Nelson.

--Accept the help of others. "The astonishing generosity and compassion of perfect strangers is what helped me through that first year and then some," says Nelson. "There are wonderful people out there. In your darkest time, their generosity can offer a bright light of hope."

--Stay connected with your family, your friends and your community. "Try your best to go back to your routines as much as humanly possible. That may include work, school, exercising--anything that reminds you of what normal feels like," says Nelson.

Nelson says it's ok to feel self-pity and misery after a catastrophe. It's still something she experiences from time to time. She says that despite the pain, you have to be willing to create a new story for yourself, one that can sustain you in the years ahead.

Says Nelson, "I hope that sharing my story and what I experienced will help others get through similar events."

Phoenix Rising ( is available in paperback, audio and on Kindle.

Diane Rumbaugh
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Location:Camarillo - California - United States
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