Home » Disaster Operations » WHEN DISASTER STRIKES, VOLUNTEER EFFORTS ARE CRUCIAL

WHEN DISASTER STRIKES, VOLUNTEER EFFORTS ARE CRUCIAL

FED - FEMA | Federal Emergency Management Agency

FED – FEMA | Federal Emergency Management Agency (Photo credit: Inventorchris)

LINCROFT,
N.J. — As Superstorm Sandy made landfall in New Jersey last October,
many residents who had lived in harmony with the oceans, rivers and bays
of New Jersey for decades found themselves in life-threatening
situations.

The emergency inspired hundreds of heroic acts. Among them:

  • In Brick, a couple who were lifeguards saved some 50 people from the floods.
  • A Vespa-riding school teacher carried gas and emergency supplies for people in desperate need of help.
  • An off-duty nurse delivered a baby by the side of the road.
  • A volunteer firefighter braved chest-deep water to rescue his neighbors.

In all of the areas impacted by the storm, people performed extraordinary acts of bravery and compassion.

Neighbors helped neighbors, community volunteers including first
aiders and firefighters worked around the clock to rescue those in need
and protect the safety of their neighbors.

And as the wind, rain and flood waters, receded, a veritable army of volunteers joined forces in the recovery effort.

As the one year anniversary of this historic storm approaches, it is a
good time to remember and celebrate the role of volunteers in helping
the residents of New Jersey meet the enormous challenges they faced in
the weeks and months of recovery that followed the storm.

To date, 507 volunteer organizations have participated in the
recovery effort in New Jersey. Of those, 124 have reported 166,598
volunteers who have contributed 951,731 hours worth $26.8 million.

“In a disaster such as Superstorm Sandy, the efforts of volunteers
are critical to the recovery,” said Gracia Szczech, federal coordinating
officer for FEMA in New Jersey. “The work of volunteers contributed
substantially to helping New Jerseyans respond to the challenges they
faced and begin their recovery.”

A coalition of volunteer organizations, the National Voluntary
Organizations Active in Disaster
(VOAD), has worked with federal, state
and local agencies to provide a wide range of services to New Jerseyans
as they moved forward with their recovery.

FEMA supported their efforts by identifying populations with access
and functional needs, identifying available federal assistance programs
and providing coordination and donations management. Together, the
agencies form a Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG). FEMA’s Voluntary Agency
Liaisons work with the voluntary groups at the state and local levels
and also refer people to the LTRG for help with specific needs.

The voluntary organizations’ work includes helping with flood debris
cleanup as well as home repairs and reconstruction, providing short-term
food, clothing and shelter assistance, and counseling services.

Among the local and national VOAD organizations that have been active
in the continuing recovery are: the American Red Cross, the Community
Food Bank of New Jersey, Church World Service, World Renew, UMCOR
(United Methodist Church), Mormon Helping Hands, Operation Hope, United
Church of Christ, Catholic Charities, NECHAMA (Jewish Response), ICNA
(Muslim Humanity) Rebuilding Together, Habitat for Humanity, Lutheran
Disaster Response, Presbyterian Disaster Services, the Salvation Army,
certain United Way organizations as well as faith-based volunteers from
numerous other denominations, individual churches, synagogues and
mosques.

Sandy survivors who are still in need of assistance with their recovery may access available resources online at www.nj211.org/hurricane.

 

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.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate’s activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not
endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

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