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Faith Groups Have Key Roles in Irma Recovery

Faith Groups Have Key Roles in Irma Recovery

By    |   Monday, 11 September 2017 09:16 AM

Faith groups have key roles in Hurricane Irma recovery efforts, with various organizations proving to be vital in disaster relief efforts.

The powerful hurricane left a road of devastation in its path as Irma tore through Florida over the weekend.

As federal and state officials scramble to provide relief to those affected by the storm, local nonprofit organizations and churches have been on the ground, working around the clock to assist victims.

"About 80 percent of all recovery happens because of nonprofits, and the majority of them are faith-based," Greg Forrester, CEO of the national Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) told USA Today.

"The money is all raised by the individuals who go and serve, raised through corporate connections, raised through church connections and amounts to billions of dollars' worth of disaster recovery assistance."

In the wake of Irma, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been working alongside various nonprofit, faith and community-based organizations to provide relief efforts.

Evangelical aid group Samaritan's Purse reached out to residents on the island country of St. Maarten, where Irma caused widespread destruction on Sunday.

The aid group airlifted heavy-duty shelter plastic, family hygiene kits, and blankets to over 2,000 families and sent an additional shipment of emergency supplies to a further 2,000 families, according to a statement on the organization's website.

Samaritan's Purse said it had "strategically positioned trucks and equipment for a U.S Disaster Relief response to support people affected by Irma."

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church, announced that all 47 of its units from Pensacola to south Florida were on standby and ready to assist residents in need.

"Along with the 32 canteens (mobile kitchens), The Salvation Army also has a fleet of equipment which includes two bunkhouses, two shower trailers, one generator and a Ford utility truck, which will be deployed as needed to the Hurricane Irma impacted areas," the organization said in a statement.

The Salvation Army, which has more than 3,000 trained volunteers and staff in Florida, added it was working to establish five strategic staging areas which included Miami, Fort Myers, Palm Beach County, Vero Beach and Fort Lauderdale.

Operation Blessing, a nonprofit humanitarian organization, said it was ready to send out emergency supplies from its hurricane warehouse in Ocala, Florida, to the hardest hit areas.

Among these items was food, water and hygiene kits for those most in need as well as chainsaws, generators, wheelbarrows and other tools for clearing debris.

Other faith-based organizations at work on recovery include Seventh Day Adventists, which provides warehousing of disaster supplies; United Methodist Committee on Relief, which specializes in case management; and Convoy of Hope, which is known for providing food during disaster recovery, USA Today noted.

"FEMA cannot do what it does so well without the cooperation of faith-based nonprofit organizations and churches," Rev. Jamie Johnson, director of the Department of Homeland Security's Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, told USA Today.

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Faith groups have key roles in Hurricane Irma recovery efforts, with various organizations proving to be vital in disaster relief efforts.
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Monday, 11 September 2017 09:16 AM
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