Pro Bono News
New Local Organization Helps Coordinate Storm Assistance Aid (OK)
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
- Grand Lake News
New Local Organization Helps Coordinate Storm Assistance Aid
"This spring’s flooding, tornados, and high winds made it clear to state and local agencies and non-profits that the Grand Lake area, and surrounding counties, needed a long term recovery group to coordinate the many requests for assistance by individuals and families impacted by the storms.
And in August, FEMA, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, and voluntary organizations assisting in disasters met and began to work on creating a long term recovery group to address the unmet needs of storm survivors.
In just four short months, the group established the new Northeast Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Coalition (NEODRC) which is led by Mike Johnston, a retired ConocoPhillips employee. The organization serves the four-county region of Delaware, Ottawa, Mayes and Craig Counties. NEODRC is a 501c3 non-profit organization.
In November, the group funded its first two projects. Although many similar groups are in the process of being formed throughout the state, NEODRC was one of the first in the state to actually fund a project.
NEODRC works closely with the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), which was founded in 1970. There are nearly 100 coordinating groups that are members addressing disaster needs throughout the country.
In the past 20 years, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has declared at least 100 disasters in Oklahoma or an average of five a year.
Despite the many government and non-governmental organizations which come to the aid of those hit by disasters, it is estimated that 15 to 20 percent of those individuals and families, who have damage, have major unmet needs even if they have insurance, FEMA assistance, or are eligible for government assistance through Small Business Loans. Providing assistance to these survivors is the focus of the NEODRC.
In the Grand Lake area, there are many individuals who still have major unmet needs from the spring flooding, tornados and high winds. While state and federal agencies have been very helpful in providing coordination and organizational support, actual long term recovery support to affected survivors, the hands-on aspects of recovery, is a local responsibility.
At the same time, a number of nonprofit organizations such as Catholic Charities, United Methodist Disaster Services, and Red Cross independently and through the NEODRC continue to provide support..."