Supporting students affected by political unrest and natural disaster
Times of political unrest or natural disaster periodically affect students. Both international and home students are likely to be concerned about family and friends, worried about finding themselves in an uncertain situation and/or having to deal with feelings of helplessness caused by being away from home at such times.
In our experience, students are best advised to use the normal student support network which has been set up for their relevant course/School or at their University hall of residence. The student support networks in Schools/halls of residence are robust and colleagues have supported students though all manner of sudden regional upheavals and natural disasters.
The main issue is trying to sort out communications with family back home and students can be offered the use of phone/fax/email facilities in their Schools, the Student Services Centre (IAT) or in International Development.
In a few cases, some international students may find themselves in immediate financial hardship. These students should be directed to the Student Services Centre where they may be eligible for crisis funding to cover immediate expenses eg food, rent.
The most important thing is to try to support a student through the short term – things can change very quickly, so trying to make long-term plans for 6-12 months is not really a practical option.
Students can also rely on our Counselling Service and the Chaplaincies as well for general support in dealing with the crisis.