Headington Institute Fall eNewsletter
Haiyan Response Trip Report
Jackie Millham & Rick Williamson

photo by Erik De Castro

Typoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms on record, struck the Philippines in November 2013. Many of the hardest hit regions are still in recovery. Rick Williamson and Jackie Millham traveled separately to the Philippines to support and train staff involved with the response. Here are some of their stories.

On my recent trip with Linda Wagener, it was evident how many of these responders were survivors themselves. I listened to the young staff who had endured the 140 mile per hour winds while their homes were ripped to shreds. Several responders had lost a close family member in the storm.

Outside Ormoc City, we met a group of 30 elderly men and women gathered in a rural Catholic Church. They told frightening stories of barely escaping the wind and rising water. I was moved by their experiences and their resilience. I was also struck by the loving responses on the part of the humanitarian staff who patiently honored the dignity and stories of each beneficiary. - Jackie
I arrived to the most impacted areas six months into the recovery effort. By that time, local staff had been working tirelessly for months on end. Yet, they enthusiastically engaged with the content presented in our staff care workshops. However, there were also moments when the group quieted and became reflective while listening to a coworker recount how they had barely survived the night of the storm. Several gave similar accounts of having to escape through the tidal surge and blowing debris as their homes gave way to the wind.

I count it a privilege whenever I work among these staff. The debris they clear has also ravaged their own homes. The suffering they see is etched on the most familiar of faces. Disaster work is indeed hard work for even the toughest of persons. But, their experience helps me appreciate the true vulnerability and need of the aid worker while also marveling at the resilience and strength inherent in humanity.
- Rick


Join the Movement!

This fall, in memory of 9/11, we’re launching a campaign called Helping Heroes, to raise support for first responders at home and internationally. With the increase in natural disasters, acts of terror, and humanitarian emergencies, we need these responders more than ever. Please take a moment to visit our campaign site and share this message with friends and family.

Together we can make a difference.

You can visit our campaign page here:
From the President

One morning, at age 6, I awoke to find our neighbor's house gone – it had burned to the ground while I slept. My dad, a local volunteer fireman, was devastated after a futile night of battling the fire. Tragically, the elderly couple living there died in the blaze. I have never forgotten my shock and sadness at losing my beloved neighbors, and my concern for my dad who was despondent about this for several years. You can understand that I have deeply personal feelings about supporting our first-responders as they risk their lives to help neighbors. In Los Angeles, as in most major cities of the world, we rely on law enforcement officers, fire fighters, Red Cross workers, and various emergency responders to help us cope with an amazing variety of natural and human-made disasters. More than ever, we are all neighbors helping neighbors around the world. Please join us in providing the training and counseling services necessary to promote responder resilience and recovery. They need our support. Thanks for your interest and help. - Jim

Don on Sabbatical

This Fall, Don Bosch, our Director of Clinical services will be on sabbatical for three months. Those who are familiar with his globe-trotting style and high-intensity work will understand the value of this time to rest, recover and explore research interests. Among his sabbatical goals, Don will be developing a best practice manual for security trainings (HEAT – hostile environment awareness training) and researching new applications for the allostatic load model within our research and innovative resilience training. Given the increasingly hostile environments in which our clients work (Syria, Iraq, Sudan et. al) the development of these resources will likely be central to our future work.
If you're interested in giving to our Helping Heroes Campaign, please click here:

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