March 20, 2013

Superstorm Sandy 2012 (U.S.) CWS response

Appeal # 627 W
Appeal goal: $618,000
Funds received as of 02/28/13: $588,290

Part one: CWS response (See also Part Two - Partner Response by Denominations/Communions)

Situation:

Response operations continue for Superstorm Sandy. Many homes still require debris removal and temporary repairs before they can be reoccupied.  This work will continue throughout the spring and into early summer. 

According to multiple sources, in New York State over 90,000 owners and 33,000 renters had their homes damaged. This damage occurred in 14 counties.  Those most impacted were Nassau, Queens, Kings and Suffolk counties. In New York State more than 1,000 families are still living in emergency housing or hotels. This does not include the many families living with relatives and friends.

In New Jersey, approximately 38,000 homes sustained severe or major damage.  An additional 9,300 rental occupied homes also sustained significant damage. Another 40,000 residences received minor damage. The counties receiving the largest concentration of damage were: Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union counties.

Impacted homeowners in both New York and New Jersey will be receiving assistance from FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), the Small Business Administration (low-interest loans), and state and local government agencies, as well as insurance payments. But these funds seldom cover the entire cost of major repairs, rebuilding, transitional housing and other losses. Especially hard hit are many at-risk populations, including the under- and uninsured, people with disabilities, the elderly, immigrant populations, people of color, and others. These unmet needs are very roughly estimated by state and federal authorities at over two billion dollars.

People are starting home repairs with government, insurance and personal funds. Rebuilds and repairs are also being started with the support of faith-based and non-faith-based charitable organizations. However, the bulk of the reconstruction will not start until long-term recovery organizations are up and running to manage the activities. These committees and groups are forming at the county, city, town and even neighborhood levels. The committees will manage activities that include volunteer reception and housing, volunteer management, construction management, fund raising, donations and material management, funds allocation, disaster case management, spiritual and emotional care, communications and advocacy, and other tasks as needed.

CWS response:

CWS Emergency Response Specialists are working with state, regional and local Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, known as VOADs, and with FEMA, CWS member communions and other agencies to determine where CWS and its communions can help and are needed. CWS Emergency Response Specialists are also helping potential donors and volunteers learn where to best offer their services and resources.

To date CWS has provided: 12,840 CWS Blankets, 12,420 CWS Baby Care Kits, 19,500 CWS School Kits, 16,900 CWS Hygiene Kits and 2,193 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets.  These 63,853 items are valued at $1,137,216. Shipping costs are estimated at an additional $136,000. 

Agencies and groups receiving the CWS materials include the Community Food Bank of New Jersey (Hillside, N.J.); Nassau County Office of Emergency Management (Bethpage, N.Y.); Adventist Community Services (Bronx, N.Y.); the Long Island Council of Churches (multiple locations on Long Island, N.Y.); Church of God Christian Academy (Far Rockaway, N.Y.); Congregational Church for South Hempstead (South Hempstead, N.Y.); Recovery House of Worship (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Project Hope Charities, Inc. (Jamaica, N.Y.); Catholic Charities (Hicksville, N.Y.);  Naomi AME Zion Church (Brooklyn, N.Y.), and  The Salvation Army (Hempstead, N.Y.) along with the .U.S. Army Reserve (Beaver, W.Va.) and Lehigh County Emergency Management (Allentown, Pa.).

CWS Emergency Response Specialists have conducted on-site Recovery Tools and Training workshops at nine locations in New York and New Jersey. Topics discussed in these day-long trainings included:  FEMA Individual Assistance Information, Long-Term Recovery Organization, Disaster Case Management, Emotional and Spiritual Care, Health and Safety During Cleanup and Rebuilding, Donations Overview, Volunteer/Hospitality Management, and Construction Volunteers and Management. The trainings were attended by more than 900 future Long-Term Recovery committee members.   Click here for a news/feature story about a workshop in Queens, N.Y.

Partnering with CWS to provide these workshops were experts from Lutheran Disaster Response, World Renew (a ministry of the Christian Reformed Church in North America), United Methodist Committee on Relief, Presbyterian Disaster Relief and the United Church of Christ. Also participating were representatives from FEMA and various New York and New Jersey government agencies.  Most of the sessions were hosted by CWS member churches. CWS Emergency Response Specialists also presented two webinars on Long-Term Recovery Basics. These presentations were attended by an additional 200 future Long-Term Recovery Group members.

Another CWS Webinar on Long-Term Recovery Basics will be presented on April 16 and 17. The Webinars start at 1:00 p.m. Eastern and last approximately two hours each day. See www.cwsglobal.org/ltrwebinars soon for details and to sign up as an attendee. CWS Emergency Response Specialists will organize and facilitate additional training as needed by long-term recovery groups as they organize. The specialists are in daily contact with the groups to provide consultation, advice and knowledge as needed. CWS will also provide Long-Term Recovery Grants. These grants of approximately $5,000 each are used by the recovery groups to help set up organizational activities, purchase office supplies, hire part-time disaster case managers and defray the many other costs involved in running these complex volunteer organizations. CWS just approved a $5,000 grant to the Bergen County Long-Term Recovery Committee in Hackensack, N.J.

Additional information:

CWS also will assist communities in developing long-term recovery plans, will provide technical and financial support, and will provide on-site long-term recovery training.  The lead CWS Emergency Response Specialist for this storm is Joann Hale jhale@churchworldservice.org or jhale123@aol.com, 917-705-3038 (New York).

The other CWS Emergency Response Specialists who can be contacted to provide information are:

Susanne Gilmore  sgilmore@churchworldservice.org  785-477-7823 (Kansas)
Sandra Kennedy-Owes  skowes@churchworldservice.org  251-725-4262 (Alabama)
Kuulei Funn kfunn@churchworldservice.org  808-226-6432 (Hawaii)

Budget:

Total is $618,000. This includes:

  • $125,000 for material resources and shipping:  ($76,000 for blanket purchase and $24,000 for material resource processing and shipping)
  • $300,000 for emergency response long-term recovery group grants (projected 60 grants of $5,000/each)
  • $175,000 for long-term recovery group training (12 training events at $14,584/per training)
  • $18,000 for communications

How to help:

Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts around the world may be made online, sent to your denomination, or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. (REF: SUPERSTORM SANDY APPEAL {U.S.} # 627-W.)

Concerning CWS emergency cleanup buckets, blankets and kits:

Thanks to the great efforts of CWS communions, CWS has made progress restocking its warehouse, but more materials are needed to be ready for future emergencies. Needed to restock CWS warehouses are CWS Blankets, Emergency Cleanup Buckets, Hygiene Kits, Baby Kits and School Kits. Information on various kits that can be compiled and donated to CWS can be found here.

Concerning volunteer deployment:

Volunteers are best utilized when part of an organized effort. The best course of action is to affiliate with a church or other responding agency. Volunteer time and talents will then be well used in planned and organized activities. There is a lot of work to be done and groups will be needed for repair and rebuilding activities for several years. 

During a disaster it is important to remember that the most important immediate humanitarian donation that an individual can make is cash.  If you do have supplies that may be of help, contact a CWS Emergency Response Specialist to see if the materials can be used and where.

Church World Service is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.

For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding please visit www.cwsglobal.org or call the CWS Hotline, 800-297-1516.

CWS Development and Humanitarian Assistance Program/CWS New York office: 212-870-3151

Program Director: Donna Derr at dderr@churchworldservice.org

Associate Director for Domestic Disaster Response: Barry Shade at bshade@churchworldservice.org


See also Superstorm Sandy emergency appeal update part two - Additional response by CWS partner deominations/communions