September 02, 2005

Disaster Relief Information for Victims and their Friends

Dear Paul:

Below you will find most of what you need to help you get back on your feet.

The normal place to start in any disaster is with the American Red Cross. Red Cross volunteers at Disaster Relief Centers normally come equiped with xeroxed sheets of local/state contact numbers and victims or their family members can call to apply for services, temporary relief (in the form of shelter, food and clothing) and long term recovery programs (for government aid from agencies such as FEMA).

One thing to keep in mind as you deal with each agency is that each one is set up differently and have different time frames in which they will provide support for a victim. For instance, the American Red Cross is an agency geared to provide immediate and short term disaster relief. Short term can be 24 to 48 hrs for a small disaster (such as a fire or local flood/rain or snow storm) to up to several months as we will see in this case. FEMA on the other hand, is geared to provide initial support to communities and government entities and later to individuals.

Things you'll need
1) notebook & pen/pencil
2) plastic bag ziploc type large enough for notebook/pen
3) patience - you have to register with each agency which means giving the same info over and over again. Please keep your registration numbers in the notebook, you'll need to refer to your case as you follow up with each agency.

Please note, I am not an expert and have not worked in Disaster Recovery or as a Relief worker in almost 10 years. I am doing this to have informaiton handy for those who need it, like you and my best friend, Susan. She will need it when she finally gets to her 1st temporary destination: Dallas.

Where to start:
Here’s a list of Domestic Disaster Relief Organizations that are legitimate, have a longstanding history of disaster relief services, and that I’m familiar with. There's a brief description of what they do and some initial contact info that I was able to hurriedly put together. More info/links will appear as soon as I get a chance to get back here.

For those needing immediate shelter in Louisiana, please call 1-800-469-4828.

Additional Shelter Information:
Special Needs Shelter Information
Triage Phone Numbers:
Alexandria: 800-841-5778 Shreveport: 800-841-5776
Baton Rouge: 800-349-1372 Monroe: 866-280-7287
Houma/Thibodaux: 800-228-9409 Slidell/Hammond: 866-280-7724
Lafayette: 800-901-3210 Lake Charles: 866-280-2711

Equine Shelter/Evacuation Site Information
Locations for Animal Evacuation:
Alexandria - Large & Small 318-442-4222 (all vet clinics will accept)
Lamar Dixon - Gonzales - Large Animals
Shreveport - LSU-S (pets only, no livestock)
West Monroe - Ike Hamilton Coliseum

Louisiana Hotel Information 1-800-99-GUMBO

Emergency Shelter Information Points:
Tourist Welcome Center, US 65 & 84, 1401 Carter St. (US 84), Vidalia, LA
Tourist Welcome Center, TA Truck Stop, Tallulah Exit (Hwy 65 & I 20)
Paragon Casino, 711 Paragon Place, Marksville LA
Sammy's Truck Stop, I-49, Exit 53, 3601 LA 115W, Bunkie, LA
Med Express Office, 7525 US 71, Alexandria, LA
P.E. Gym, LSU- Shreveport, One University Place, Shreveport, LA
Pickering High School, 180 Lebleu Rd., Leesville, LA
Mowad Civic Center, 5th & 10th St., 1 Block off US 165, Oakdale, LA

Connecting with Loved Ones - SATERN - The Salvation Army's Team Emergency Radio Network has been activated. Click link to send a health and welfare request regarding family and friends you otherwise are unable to locate. Also contact the Red Cross with your loved ones info. as they cross reference missing info reports with their victims relief support database. There is also this site which I'm not familiar with, but it's free and uses today's technology to reunite families.

American Red Cross - 1(866)-GET-INFO (438-4636) This is the starting point for all information, from immediate relief, and local/state recovery efforts, to information about loved ones and long term aid efforts. Their emergency assistance includes fixed/mobile feeding stations, shelter, cleaning supplies, comfort kits, first aid, blood and blood products, food, clothing, emergency transportation, rent, home repairs, household items, and medical supplies. Additional assistance for long-term recovery may be provided when other relief assistance and/or personal resources are not adequate to meet disaster-caused needs. The American Red Cross provides referrals to the government and other agencies providing disaster assistance. You can apply for relief at any local Red Cross Office (see link).

Catholic Charities USA Disaster Response - 1(800) 919-9338 - provides
assistance to communities in addressing the crisis and recovery needs of local
families. Catholic Charities agencies emphasize ongoing and long-term recovery services for individuals and families, including temporary housing assistance for low income families, counseling programs for children and the elderly, and special counseling for disaster relief workers.

Christian Disaster Response (CDR) - provides disaster assessments, fixed/mobile feeding facilities, and in-kind disaster relief supplies. CDR also coordinates and stockpiles the collection of donated goods through their regional centers.

Church of the Brethren Disaster Response provides cleanup and debris
removal from damaged or destroyed homes and personal property. Volunteers
are trained through the Cooperative Disaster Child Care Program to establish
child-care centers following major disasters.

The Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief responds to domestic disasters and sends immediate relief grants for such basics as food, water, medical assistance, and financial aid within the first 90 days following a disaster.

Friends Disaster Service (FDS) provides clean-up and rebuilding assistance to the elderly, disabled, low income, or uninsured survivors of disasters. The Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) provides for immediate disaster response, in both natural and technological disasters, long-term rebuilding efforts, and support for preparedness planning through synods, districts, and social ministry organizations.

Gift of Sight - assists victims in replacing their glasses lost from the hurricane.

Humane Society of the US - helps with reunification pets and owners after a disaster, referrals of care and provides communities assistance with rescue of pets.

Mennonite Disaster Services - assists disaster victims by providing volunteer personnel to clean up and remove debris from damaged and destroyed homes and personal property and to repair or rebuild homes. Special emphasis is placed on assisting those less able to help themselves, such as the elderly and handicapped.

National Emergency Response Team (NERT) meets the basic human needs of shelter, food, and clothing during times of crisis and disaster. NERT provides Emergency Mobile Trailer units (EMTUs), which are self-contained, modest living units for up to 8-10 people, to places where disaster occurs. When EMTUs are not in use, they serve as mobile teaching units used in Emergency Preparedness programs in communities.

National Organization for Victim Assistance provides social and mental health services for individuals and families who experience major trauma after disaster, including critical incident debriefings.

The Salvation Army - provides emergency assistance including mass and mobile feeding, temporary shelter, counseling, missing person services, medical assistance, and distribution of donated goods.
Victims Needing Assistance Please call 1-888-363-2769.

Second Harvest National Network of Food Banks - collects, transports, warehouses, and distributes donated food and grocery products for other agencies involved in both feeding operations and the distribution of relief supplies through its national network of food banks. (Food Bank Locator here)

The Society of St. Vincent De Paul provides social services to individuals and families, and collects and distributes donated goods. It operates retail stores, homeless shelters, and feeding facilities that are similar to those run by the Salvation Army. The stores’ merchandise can be made available to disaster victims. Warehousing facilities are used for storing and sorting donated
merchandise during the emergency period.

The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief - provides more than 200 mobile feeding units staffed by volunteers who can prepare and distribute thousands of meals a day. Active in providing disaster childcare, the agency has several mobile childcare units. Southern Baptists also assist with clean-up activities, temporary repairs, reconstruction, counseling, and bilingual services.

UJA Federations of North America organizes direct assistance, such as
financial and social services, to Jewish and general communities in the U.S.
following disaster. It also provides rebuilding services to neighborhoods and
enters into long-term recovery partnerships with residents.

United Methodist Committee on Relief (800) 554-8583 - provides funding for local units in response and recovery projects based on the needs of each situation. This
agency also provides spiritual and emotional care to disaster victims and long-term care of children impacted by disaster.

Federal Emergency Management Agency - FEMACall to Apply for Assistance 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The speech or hearing impaired may call (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. You may also register online at the link above.

• For use ONLY by people in designated federal disaster areas.
• Be prepared to give your Social Security number, describe your losses, provide financial information, and give directions to the damaged property.
• If you get a busy signal, try to call in the evening after 6:00 p.m. or on the weekends when call volumes tend to be lighter.
The information you provide is put into the computer. You are now in the system and the recovery process begins:
• An inspector will call back to schedule an appointment.
• Inspector will visit damaged property
• Packet will arrive in mail
• You MUST fill out and return application to be eligible for any further assistance.

For Small Business Owners:
Small Business Administration (Low Interest Loans)
US Chamber of Commerce (Low Interest Loans)

Finally, some Gas, Electric, Telephone and MORTGAGE service providers have announced temporary bill/debt forgiveness for those in the federally designated disaster areas. To be eligible for this, you MUST REGISTER WITH FEMA and provide your service providers with your FEMA Registration information.

Regarding Telephone Numbers/Service: This one is from personal experience during 9-11. Both cell and land phone carriers will hold your telephone number for a certain period of time (check your provider's website). They will allow also allow you to resume service under your old number once you return to your home. That is what happened to the residents of Lower Manhattan and most cell phone subscribers in NYC. You can also temporarily port your number another area. Again, check with your service provider.

Additional information was compiled by The Bastard of Bring It ON.

Thanks to my Blog Dad, Harvey of Bad Example for the reminder that sometimes people need all the info in one place.

Technorati tags: flood aid; Hurricane Katrina

Posted by Michele at September 2, 2005 04:59 AM | TrackBack

This is some great information!!! Can I have permission to cross post it at

Posted by: The Bastard at September 2, 2005 04:42 AM

Second Harvest Food Bank Locator:

Might want to include that link in your post.

Posted by: Harvey at September 2, 2005 11:30 AM

WalMart has set up a database so that anyone can register at any WalMart, Sam's Club or other affiliated store to let people know they're ok, or to look for loved ones.

Posted by: Ted at September 2, 2005 03:33 PM

Great information. I linked it. For some reason, my attempt to trackback got me banned at your site - not sure if it was something in my post or my site url. If it's the latter, this attempt at a comment will probably get me banned again...

Posted by: Kathy K at September 3, 2005 05:06 PM

Hi and thanks for your help! We have about 200 Scientology Volunteer Ministers in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, running shelters for people who have lost their homes. We also have a team in New Orleans, and Volunteer Ministers in Texas, Florida, Georgia and Washington D.C. where shelters have also been set up. We will train volunteers, and if anyone can donate cash or goods we will use 100% of it to pour into this disaster relief. We will provide drivers to drive down vans of supplies, etc. If you could post a link to our site on your blog I would really appreciate it. The home page of our web site gives information on how to contact us.
Best wishes,

Posted by: Linda Wieland at September 5, 2005 02:05 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?