CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – West Texas A&M University announced that two professors have received federal funds for their research focused on understanding the needs of refugees, as well as the obstacles faced during emergencies in Texas, in order to propose solutions to help refugees be better prepared for disasters.

The university said that the study is being led by Dr. Ming Xie, assistant professor of emergency management administration, and Dr. Li Chen, associate professor of media communication. The grant will put over $7,800 toward funding the study, “Turning Every Disaster into an Opportunity: An Exploratory Study on Refugees Perceived Emergency Management Capacity and Disaster Resilience,” which is expected to run from Sept. 6 until July 31, 2023.

WT said that the grant money will allow the researchers to offer interview incentives and survey participants, as well as to hire a graduate assistant.

“We will use the FEMA grant money to examine the needs, obstacles and potential solutions regarding disaster preparedness of refugees in Texas,” Chen said. “The research findings will provide emergency management professionals and policymakers with theory-driven and evidence-based advice at local and state levels.”

“At WT, we teach classes including emergency management and social vulnerability, principles of emergency management, and disaster,” Xie said. “Ninety percent of the students in our emergency management administration program are first responders such as firefighters, police officers, paramedics and emergency managers in the public and private sectors. This research project is a great case study for these students to expand their knowledge about refugees’ disaster resilience.”

Further, the professors plan to hold workshops and table talks focused on emergency planning and building emergency kits for area refugees.

The FEMA website also hosts a number of grants, informational portals, and disaster and assistance resources including general information, recovery tools, and current disaster updates.