WARNER ROBINS, Ga. -- As Georgians continue to recover from January’s storms, some may find their needs go beyond the range of assistance available from the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS) or FEMA.
With support and guidance from the state and FEMA, county emergency managers and volunteer agencies in many mostly rural Georgia communities have formed organizations to meet ongoing needs and to help residents prepare for future challenges.
Among them is the new Dougherty County Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG). Eugene Anderson is the Volunteer Manager for the county and is helping to support the entire response and recovery effort.
The group is establishing itself as a one-stop operation able to receive building materials, household items and financial donations, recruit volunteers, provide counseling, and make recovery plans for families with unmet needs.
FEMA and the GEMA/HS Voluntary Agency Liaisons have offered guidance in creating the long-term recovery group. It is structured along the lines recommended by the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. National VOAD represents more than 60 nongovernmental organizations, all with extensive disaster experience, and 55 state and territorial counterparts, including the Georgia VOAD.
Volunteer organizations are often deployed in communities before federal and state assistance arrives and remain there long after the first responders go home.
Ken Bevel, a pastor at Albany’s Sherwood Baptist Church, is the LTRG president. He said organizers wanted to start a recovery operation but weren’t sure how to go about it. They reached out to the state, FEMA and others and found plenty of resources were available.
The group will use the long-term recovery guide National VOAD has authored, available online at nvoad.org.
As communities plan for the inevitable disasters to come, the writers of the guide said they hoped each long-term recovery group will capture its experiences so that “Together we can accomplish what none of us can achieve alone.”
For more information, contact Rev. Bevel at KenB@SherwoodBaptist.net or by phone at (229) 883-1910.
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FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.