Kokomo, IN -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has funded a $319,806 grant to Indiana's State Division of Mental Health and Addiction (SDMHA) to provide immediate crisis counseling services for victims of the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding.
"Losing a home, business, or personal property to disaster takes a financial toll on victims," said Thomas J. Costello, FEMA federal coordinating officer. "But the emotional toll a disaster exacts can be devastating too. A victim's emotional recovery also needs to be addressed."
Common reactions to a disaster may include: nightmares, difficulty sleeping, feelings of being overwhelmed, fear of the weather, anxiety about the future, difficulty making decisions, hopelessness, disappointment with outside help, headaches, increased anger or aggression, domestic violence, frustration, and feelings of powerlessness. These feelings can be exhibited by people of all ages, including children.
"People affected by a disaster can be seriously stressed and confused by the sudden adversity in their world," said Andrew Klatte, project manager for Project Aftermath. "We try to keep them from being overwhelmed and empower them to regain control of their lives. No one who experiences a disaster goes untouched by it."
Crisis counseling helps disaster victims recognize normal stress reactions and emotions caused or aggravated by a disaster, and regain control over themselves and their environment. Any individual who was affected by the disaster and is in need of crisis counseling, and lives in any one of the 40 counties designated a disaster area, can call toll-free 800-564-6460. SDMHA is responsible for overall administration and implementation of the Project Aftermath, which will include crisis counseling, community education services, assistance and training.
Individuals who have suffered losses or damages from the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began July 4 to August 6 can apply register for disaster assistance by calling FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or for those with speech or hearing impairment, TTY 1-800-462-7585. Both numbers are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and multilingual operators are available when necessary. The deadline to apply for disaster assistance is Tuesday, September 9.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.