Birmingham, AL - Alabama residents who suffered losses as a result of the storms and tornadoes that struck last month but who still have serious unmet needs may find help through numerous volunteer groups long after the main disaster response has ended.
The disaster relief services provided by a host of voluntary agency groups during the Nov. 5-12 severe storms and tornadoes will continue to help storm victims in the 29 counties declared by the President as disaster areas.
"Representatives from a myriad of Voluntary Agency (VOLAG) groups, local when possible, get together to develop a plan and access the resources needed for their recovery," said VOLAG coordinator Ken Skalitzky of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The "long term" recovery concept was formed following Hurricane Camille's devastation 33 years ago when organizations grew concerned about duplicating services they knew would be required for a long time. These organizations, which today make up what is called the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), have met together annually since 1971. Their main goal, which is also the keystone of long-term recovery, is to increase cooperation, coordination, communication and education.
While the public is aware of the vital role the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and other agencies play during a disaster, people often don't really know these groups continue to provide help long after the emergency phase has passed. Types of assistance that can continue to be available from local faith-based agencies include transportation, family counseling, housing and rental aid, food vouchers, building and repair, debris removal, elderly services, children's services, donated goods and clothing, financial support, food pantry, skilled labor, utility bill assistance, and Spanish and deaf interpreters.
Volunteer organizations responding to the tornado recovery effort and whose efforts will continue at the local level include the following: Adventist Community Services, American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Disaster Services, The Salvation Army, Southern Baptist Convention, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist Church.
Alabama storm victims who want to access the resources of the Inter-Agency Committees for National and Local Faith-Based Organizations, may call the following:
- Cherokee County - Cherokee Interfaith Recovery Committee, 256-927-5016
- Walker County - Carbon Hill Disaster Recovery Committee, 205-924-1657
- Curry Community, Curry/Arley/Rose Hill Emergency Recovery Team 205-387-8251
- Henry County - Wiregrass Faith Based Disaster Recovery Organization, 334-585-3121
- All other declared counties - American Red Cross, 866-438-4636
The 29 affected counties are Barbour, Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Cleburne, Cullman, Dale, DeKalb, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Hale, Henry, Houston, Jefferson, Lamar, Lawrence, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Pickens, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega, Tuscaloosa, Walker and Winston.