Cridersville, OH -- Two long term recovery committees have been formed by voluntary and faith based organizations to serve those recovering from the effects of the recent flooding in Western Ohio, disaster recovery officials announced today.
"Voluntary agencies play a crucial role, not only in the initial emergency and relief effort, but in helping disaster affected families in their long-term recovery efforts," U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)'s federal coordinating officer Ron Sherman said.
"They offer an essential safety net for those still in need after they have used all the help available to them through federal and state disaster assistance programs and insurance."
But the help of voluntary groups should be solicited only after disaster victims have gone through the process of registering for federal and state assistance and finding out what losses are insured or underinsured, FEMA's liaison to Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), Art Storey, emphasized.
"The long-term recovery committees' goal is to aid those families with unmet needs to develop a plan and to help them get adequate assistance for their recovery," Storey said. "The committees will ask those requesting their help to show that they have already gone through the federal and state disaster assistance process and used their insurance. The privately funded assistance offered through the committees is intended to supplement government aid."
"The committee approach enables these wonderful groups to have the greatest impact where they are most needed to help the flooded areas get back on their feet," the Ohio Emergency Management Agency's Deputy State Coordinating Officer Rich Roman said.
"They do great and essential work in support of Ohio's people recovering from disaster."
Those in the counties under the July 15 federal disaster declaration who suffered disaster-related losses can register for federal and state aid by calling toll-free 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The hard of hearing may call TTY 1-800-462-7585.
People who have applied for government disaster assistance but still have unmet needs as a result of the flooding may contact the long-term recovery committee serving the county where they live. For Mercer, Van Wert and Darke counties, the number is 419-363-3230. For Logan, Shelby, and Auglaize, the number is 937-292-7029. Those who want to help with the recovery effort in Logan, Shelby and Auglaize counties may call 937-292-7348.
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.