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As a starting point in assessing the needs of super typhoon Yolanda

victims, one can begin with the classical hierarchy of needs schema of
what still motivates these victims. An excellent discussion of human
needs was presented by the humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow in
his Hierarchy of Needs shown in Figure 1. Reflective of the human
behavior it is meant to model, the hierarchy is comprised of myriad
supportive and supplemental needs that, in aggregate, determine the
relevant stratus.

Figure 1. Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow (1943) stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs.
When one need is fulfilled a person seeks to fulfill the next one, and so
on. This five stage model can be divided into basic (or deficiency) needs
(e.g. physiological, safety, love, and esteem) and growth needs (selfactualization).

The deficiency or basic needs are said to motivate people when they are
unmet. Also, the need to fulfill such needs will become stronger the
longer the duration they are denied. In the case of the Yolanda victims,
the longer a person goes without food the more hungry they will become
and that hunger will in turn motivate the victims in satisfying that need.
Under most conditions, humans are not only interested in meeting their
most basic physical needs, but also in living full and consequential lives.
As conditions deteriorate, however, people are forced to focus on meeting
only their most fundamental needs, the ones that help keep them alive.
This necessary retrogression is frequently seen when a major disaster
strikes. (
As far as disaster preparedness, one needs to concern himself primarily
with physiological safety, and to a lesser extent the belongingness needs.
Considering Maslow's hierarchy, there are eight identifiable basic needs
that must be met: food, water, shelter, light, heating/cooling, air, sleep
and hygiene situation. However, in order to maintain a reasonable quality
of life, there are also six secondary needs that directly or indirectly
support survival. The list includes: medicine/first aid, communication,
electrical power, financial security, transportation and protection. Both
basic and supporting needs are reflected on Figure 2.

Figure 2. Basic and Supporting Needs

One must satisfy lower level basic needs before progressing on to meet
higher level growth needs. Once these needs have been reasonably
satisfied, one may be able to reach the highest level called selfactualization.
perspective, victims of Yolanda may still
It is not the responsibility of response group to address all needs at all
levels. It is suggested that self actualization is well beyond the practicality
for emergency response. Self esteem needs probably do not need to be
addressed except that any emergency response must be respectful of the
individual. However, these levels can be affected indirectly by response
and messaging strategies that enhance psychological resilience in the
face of traumatic experiences. Psychotraumatology uses the term growth
through adversity to describe the emergence of positive adaptations and
adjustments as people live through traumatic, catastrophic, and
threatening situations. The recognition of and ability to operate under
conditions of uncertainty, the development of a sense of connected
detachment (integration of affect and cognition), and the recognition
and acceptance of human limitations appear to be critical psychological
factors in overcoming personal, and by extension communal, adversity.
Proactive education of individuals and community leaders, combined with
appropriate messaging strategies, may be one way to nurture and engage
these bases of psychological resilience in response planning.
If rescued survivors are provided with only safety and merely satisfy their
physiological needs, their motivational basis will stem from their social
needs. Success in satisfying needs will not eliminate need. The public
(and media) focus will simply shift to other unsatisfied needs that had
lower initial salience in the hierarchy. Thus, to better manage survivors
there is a need to address some of their immediate and pressing social
needs. Interestingly enough, this is another place where companionship