ATLANTA, Ga. -- More than a dozen volunteer agencies will continue to help those affected by the late April storms and tornadoes in Georgia long after state and federal government disaster agencies have departed.
"Just because the Federal Emergency Management Agency's registration period for assistance has ended doesn't mean everything is back to normal," said State Coordinating Officer Charley English, Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA). "Many of these volunteer agencies were the first on the scene with a helping hand, and they will continue to help storm victims as long as the need exists."
Federal and state officials want to assure those still in need of recovery assistance that some form of help will continue to be available.
"As federal and state recovery efforts wind down, it's important for Georgians to realize they are not being abandoned," said Federal Coordinating Officer Gracia B. Szczech. "Affected residents in the
25 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. Help continues to be available by phone and internet even though the registration deadline has passed," she said.
The number is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362); for individuals with speech and hearing disabilities, the TTY number is 1-800-462-7585. For Internet help, go to www.disasterassistance.gov.
"Immediately after the storm struck, volunteers from across the country as well as those in local communities were helping Georgia residents and communities in a variety of ways," said English. "Though not as visible today, these efforts continue and will do so for some time to come."
Most of the assisting agencies are members of Georgia VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster), a cooperative organization of volunteer relief efforts that stresses communication and collaboration. Georgia VOAD includes more than 50 national volunteer agencies providing a wide array of disaster relief services.
Local Committees Spearhead Long Term Recovery
"There are seven Long Term Recovery Committees (LTRCs) now serving individuals and families on a case-by-case basis in specific areas throughout the declared counties, with three more in the making," said Charles L. "Larry" Buckner, Voluntary Agency Liaison for FEMA Region 4. "These committees are presently working with more than 400 identified cases to help them on the road to recovery from the late April storm and tornado damage."
LTRCs can only provide what they have. In order to assist those in need, they in turn need to have monies and supplies to forward to the cases they are working. Donations are readily accepted by the groups and organizations that are part of an LTRC so that they can continue to carry out their mission.
Georgia Long Term Recovery Committee
Catoosa Organization Acting in Disaster
Chair: Philip Ledbetter
Dade Organizations Active in Disaster
Chair: Joseph Chambers
706-657-3233, ext. 364