Keith Tidball, an expert in emergency response, leader of the Nature and Human Security Program at Cornell University, and a veteran of tornado recovery efforts in Joplin, Mo., and elsewhere, warns that 50 percent of tornado-related injuries occur during the recovery process.

Tidball says:

“Studies show that 50 percent of tornado-related injuries occur during rescue attempts, cleanup, and other post-tornado activities. Extra caution must be used in any tornado cleanup or recovery efforts.

“Children suffer tremendously in events like tornadoes, because they replay the events in their minds, and are afraid the tornado will come back. It is important to recognize this, and understand that children will be less likely to experience prolonged fear or anxiety if they know what to expect after a tornado. • “Talk about your own experiences with severe storms, or read aloud a book about tornadoes.• “Encourage your child to express feelings of fear. Listen carefully and show understanding.• “Offer reassurance. Tell your child that the situation is not permanent, and provide physical reassurance through time spent together and displays of affection.• “Include your child in cleanup activities. It is comforting to children to watch the household begin to return to normal and to have a job to do.”

Media note: Keith Tidball is coordinator for the New York Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). Valuable resources about tornado recovery are available at,

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