Richmond, KY -- Long after state and federal government disaster agencies have departed, more than a dozen volunteer agencies will continue to help those affected by February's ice storms and floods in Kentucky.
"Just because FEMA can't take new registrations for assistance after May 13 doesn't mean everything is back to normal", said Cash Centers, Assistant Director of Kentucky's Division of Emergency Management (KyEM). "Many of these volunteer agencies were the first on the scene with a helping hand, and they will continue to help storm victims well into the future as long as the need exists."
Recovery officials reassure that some form of help will still be available.
"As Federal and state recovery efforts wind down, it's important for Kentuckians to realize they are not being abandoned", said Gracia B. Szczech, the federal official in charge of Kentucky's Recovery. "Affected residents in the 30 declared counties may still call FEMA's Helpline for answers to their questions about disaster assistance, or to locate contact information for the appropriate volunteer agencies, even after the May 13th deadline passes", she said.
The number is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for those with speech and hearing impairments.
Most of the remaining agencies are members of VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster), a cooperative organization of volunteer relief efforts that stresses communication and collaboration. VOAD includes more than 30 national volunteer agencies providing a wide array of disaster relief services.
Kentucky, like many other states, has a state-level volunteer coordination organization chartered under VOAD. FEMA and state emergency management agencies work closely with VOAD and its state counterparts in providing disaster relief.
"Immediately after the storm struck, thousands of volunteers from across the country as well as those in local communities were helping Kentucky residents and communities in a variety of ways," said Centers. "Though not as visible today, these efforts continue and will do so for weeks to come."
Volunteer agencies that can continue to assist residents affected by the disaster include:
- The Adventist Community Services-Disaster Response provides warehouse and distribution management for relief supplies.
- The American Red Cross gives individual emergency assistance and additional assistance for families who have received the maximum grant under FEMA's Individual and Household Program (IHP).
- The Catholic Charities helps in general relief efforts.
- Church of the Brethren volunteers provide childcare and skilled building teams.
- Volunteers with the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee provide cleanup and childcare help, advocacy services, housing repair and construction, and needs assessment.
- The USDA Farm Service Agency helps with farmland debris removal, re-leveling, fence repair, and restoration of farm ponds and structures.
- First Link of the Bluegrass provides debris removal for elderly and those with special needs.
- Habitat for Humanity helps build homes for needy families; in particular, Morehead Area Habitat for Humanity provides building and repair, building materia...