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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

GA Hurricane Help Links

This is getting frustrating. In theory, people displaced by the hurricane should register through the Red Cross. In practice, the Red Cross doesn't seem able to keep up with things, at least in parts of GA. AJC has an article about what is happening in Atlanta:
As those displaced by Hurricane Katrina sought help Tuesday, they found themselves navigating a confusing and sometimes chaotic bureaucracy that was forced to turn away hundreds of exhausted and penniless evacuees.

The American Red Cross in metro Atlanta said it was simply not prepared to handle such a large demand, and the agency admitted that it made mistakes in the way it processed people waiting in line.
The Red Cross (not just in GA) wants people to register there. The churches and the Red Cross are going to have to work together. The Red Cross can hand out the emergency credit cards and so forth, so it is worth trying to set up some better links with them if you are working with a church-based effort - but right now there are problems. I am seeing the emergency credit cards in the stores (some people seem astonished that they work!) so something is getting done.

Here are some GA links.
www.connections.org is a database for churches, synagogues and the like. You register there to say what you can do. It also has links to the official shelters, which should have processing centers.

GeorgiaHousingSearch.org is a place where you can register to offer rental space.

At HurricaneKatrinaHousing.org you can register to offer free housing and/or pay for hotel bills. This database crosses 14 states. The specific page for Georgia is here.

United Way runs AtlantaHousingSearch.com which is pretty much the same thing as Georgia Housing Search.

Right now I think I am going to be making contributions to our local efforts so that I am sure the immediate needs of people are met. We have an organization that works with churches and other agencies, but is not a church, which picks up the slack when everything else fails, and that is probably about where we are now.

Howard of Oraculations also suggested giving to the United Way. Red Cross and Salvation Army are always good efforts. Pace your giving too. Current estimates are 3 million displaced people, but as people begin to get out of the totally devastated areas I think that number will rise. I believe that the worst-hit people are now going to start arriving in our area.

I would like to remind everyone that what is different about this storm is that it destroyed entire communities, and temporary housing on-site is impossible for areas without water or sewage systems. The situation is unprecedented so the relief effort needs to be unprecedented. Local competence or incompetence doesn't change the fact that these people were going to be homeless regardless.

For people who are excusing themselves for failing to contribute to the effort because they are too busy pointing fingers elsewhere, Howard of Oraculations thinks you should read this and this. We need to get it through our heads that a disaster such as this can't be prevented, only mitigated. We should be focusing on mitigation. If you must play the blame game, it doesn't excuse you for inaction. See Carl at No Oil For Pacifists and Sigmund, Carl and Alfred:
There are people who want to be heard- demand to be heard- as if speaking out and criticizing can take the place of personal responsibility and actions. There are those believe that because they speak out, the focus can be taken off the job at hand- the rescue and long term needs.
Poeple have to get it through their thick heads - it is not that things will somehow magically get better if the federal government starts doing what it should. Effective recovery from a disaster this large requires individual and local action across all 50 states.

Cool Blog, I never really thought about it that way.

I have a Hurricane Katrina blog. It pretty much covers hurricane related stuff.

Thank you - and keep up the thoughts!
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