"In a disaster situation, or a zone that has just been hit by a natural disaster of any kind, I find a lot of people that need help. Physically, emotionally, you know, whatever. Help just picking up the pieces of their lives. Help as they're trying to recover from an injury. And just being able to step in and help them, in a sense helps me," says Brittany Nunez, a senior at Union College.
Brittany Nunez is one of seven highly trained student volunteers at Union College, heading down to Birmingham, Alabama to help with relief efforts, after a series of tornadoes pummeled the region. Three staff members will be joining the students as they pass out water and food, and help with debris cleanup and removal.
"Nobody expects to see a natural disaster hit where they are living. I expect to see houses that have been damaged severely if not completely demolished. But I expect to see people who are hoping to regain what they have lost," says Nunez.
The International Rescue and Relief program at Union College gives students the opportunity to make a difference across the world, traveling to areas hit hard by natural disasters.
Aaron Kent is a staff member heading the Disaster Relief team.
"The group that's going down to Alabama is a group made up of junior and senior international rescue and relief majors. They've been studying disaster management, technical rescue, and emergency medicine for the last three or four years of their college lives," says Kent.
Five out of the seven students going to Alabama have already helped out in relief efforts in Haiti. And they believe those experiences will help them, as they work in a disaster area closer to home.
"Being in Haiti, opened my eyes to how people can recover and rebound. Even in the most drastic circumstances," says Nunez.
Hundreds lost their lives in the worst tornado outbreak in nearly forty years. And the cleanup is just beginning.