CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Over 30 voluntary agencies in five northern counties (Ohio, Brooke, Hancock, Marshall and Wetzel) that provide assistance to people in their respective communities, recently joined forces as the “Northern Panhandle Long Term Recovery Committee” (NPLTRC).
According to Lou Botta, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), “FEMA and West Virginia government agencies contribute much in the way of manpower and finances but there are always needs that go beyond what FEMA has been authorized to cover. We encourage participation of organizations such as the Northern Panhandle Long Term Recovery Committee. They provide valuable assistance to those who have suffered flood damage or have been forced to relocate.”
The specific mission of NPLTRC is to assist individuals who were adversely affected by Hurricane Ivan flooding in mid-September, providing guidance regarding state and federal resources as well as unmet needs assistance not specifically covered by FEMA.
This alliance of service organizations is beneficial to both the community and individuals, preventing duplication of services and streamlining the process for individuals with unmet needs.
By pooling their resources the Northern Panhandle Long Term Recovery Committee has been able to provide for one part-time and two full-time Case Coordinators. They will review each application and determine the extent and urgency of the need It is estimated that approximately 10 to15 percent of applicants registered with FEMA will be eligible for unmet needs assistance. Case Coordinators are due to begin work on December 6.
The following organizations have joined the Northern Panhandle Long Term Recovery Committee:
- American Red Cross
- Appalachian Outreach
- Catholic Neighborhood Center
- Change, Inc.
- Church of Christ Disaster Relief
- Church World Services
- City of Moundsville
- Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley
- Faith in Action
- Family Services – Upper Ohio Valley
- First Christian Church
- Girl Scouts
- Holy Family Catholic Mission
- House of the Carpenter
- Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio
- Northern-Catholic Community Services
- Project Recovery
- Saint Joseph Cathedral
- Saint Mathews Episcopal Church
- Salvation Army
- Seeing Hand Association
- Service for Social Action
- Society of St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store
- The Hopeful City
- Information Helpline
- United Way
- Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery
- Volunteer Program
- West Virginia Council of Churches
- WV Ministry of Advocacy and Work Camps
There are many different types of unmet needs that arise as a result of flooding and most families will have multiple needs - everything from fixtures to furnaces, clothing to coordinating transportation, financial assistance to furniture and bill payments to bricks. The Northern Panhandle Long Term Recovery Committee helps with all those needs. More importantly, they coordinate the efforts of the many participating organization so that the process is streamlined and duplication of services kept to a minimum.
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 the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.