MOORHEAD, Minn. -- Minnesota and North Dakota residents have demonstrated care for others throughout the storms and flooding of the past few years. That concern is leading individuals, faith-based and voluntary groups to work together with local and state officials, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in local Long-Term Disaster Recovery Committees (LTRCs).
Through its Voluntary Agency Liaison (VAL) program, FEMA works with state and local counterparts to bring a team of people who specialize in organizing, coordinating and supporting local LTRCs. They are working with voluntary groups to cover both sides of the Red River Valley and other parts of North Dakota in support of all phases of the flood recovery.
The mission of the local LTRC is to help neighbors for whom federal and state assistance will not be enough. It serves as a clearinghouse and point of contact for volunteer efforts to repair damaged housing, mediating between homeowners in need and volunteer groups that come to do the repair work.
The whole process of assistance delivery begins when applicants with disaster damage register with FEMA. When they have exhausted all available FEMA/state assistance and still have serious unmet needs, they are referred by FEMA and the state to an LTRC. The local LTRC will identify the agency with the appropriate resources to help and will provide the applicant with contact information.
Organizations such as: Lutheran Disaster Response, Catholic Charities, United Way, Clay County Social Services, First Link, The Salvation Army, United Methodist Disaster Relief and Humane Society, among others, are providing resources from their organizations to assist with the effort and case management.
"Recovering from natural disasters is the work of many hands, many agencies - government and private - and many dedicated individuals," said Michael H. Smith, FEMA's federal coordinating officer for Minnesota. "FEMA and state programs are part of the process but people still have long-term needs that go beyond the scope of government assistance. The Red River volunteer Long-Term Recovery Committee is now working to provide that help aided by our Voluntary Agency Liaison."
Long-term assistance continues until the needs of eligible applicants are met including: 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, language translators and deaf interpreters among others.
Residents of Clay, Norman, Traverse and Wilkin counties who may be eligible for federal disaster assistance and in need of long term aid, should first register for assistance online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov at any time or call FEMA: 1-800-621-3362 or (TTY 1-800-462-7585). The lines are open seven days a week 6 a.m. to midnight CDT until further notice.
Minnesota storm and flood victims who have registered with FEMA and have exhausted other means can then access the resources of the Red River Valley volunteer groups and other agencies by calling First Link at 211 or the Minnesota Flood Hot Line 701-476-4000.
North Dakota has a Long Term Recovery Committee, as well as other local unmet needs committees.
In North Dakota flood victims who have registered with FEMA and have exhausted other means also can call 211. In addition, local flood assistance hotlines for both volunteers and for those needing assistance include: Jamestown, 701-251-6241; Valley City, 701-845-8017; Fargo/Moorehead, 211; Emmons County, 701-254-4811; Mercer County, 701-873-4397 or 701-873-4348, and all others, 800-366-9841 (Lutheran Disaster Response).
North Dakota victims who have ...