CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – West Texas A&M University announced that two professors have received federal funding for their research focused on understanding the needs of refugees, as well as the barriers faced during emergencies in Texas, to to propose solutions to help refugees be better prepared for disasters.
The university said the study was led by Dr. Ming Xie, assistant professor of emergency management administration, and Dr. Li Chen, associate professor of media communication. The grant will dedicate more than $7,800 to fund the study “Turning Every Disaster into Opportunity: An Exploratory Study of Refugees’ Perceived Emergency Management Capacity and Disaster Resilience”, which is scheduled to run from September 6 to July 31, 2023.
WT said the grant money will allow researchers to offer incentives for interviews and survey participants, as well as hire a graduate assistant.
“We will use the FEMA grant money to examine needs, barriers and potential solutions regarding disaster preparedness for refugees in Texas,” Chen said. “The research results will provide emergency management professionals and policy makers with theoretical and evidence-based guidance at the local and state levels.”
“At WT, we teach courses on emergency management and social vulnerability, emergency management principles and disasters,” Xie said. “Ninety percent of students in our Emergency Management Administration program are first responders such as firefighters, police officers, paramedics and emergency managers in both the public and private sectors. This research project is an excellent case study for these students to deepen their understanding of refugee resilience in the face of disasters.
In addition, the professors plan to organize workshops and panel discussions focusing on emergency planning and the construction of emergency kits for refugees in the region.
The FEMA website also hosts a number of grants, information portals, and disaster and assistance resources, including general information, recovery tools, and current disaster updates.