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Red Cross Moving Forward With Long-Term Recovery in OK

In mid May, as the American Red Cross was gearing up for the start of 2013 hurricane season, attention suddenly shifted to the Sooner State. Over two weeks, a swath of deadly tornadoes bore down on Oklahoma, destroying nearly 1,700 homes and displacing entire communities. One of these tornadoes was the terrifying, mile-wide EF-5 tornado with winds of 200 miles per hour and above that devastated the town of Moore.

Because of the generous support from donors, the Red Cross has recieved #38 million dollars. This helped mobilize more than 2,000 workers to provide food, shelter and care for those who had to leave—or who lost—their homes in Moore, Shawnee, El Reno and other communities across Oklahoma.

The Red Cross worked with each affected community to establish five multi-agency resource centers designed to meet the full range of immediate needs of those impacted by the tornadoes. Dozens of agencies and government partners joined in this effort and thousands of families were helped.

So far the Red Cross has spent or committed nearly $15 million for its emergency response and initial assistance to help families. The remainder of the donations to the Red Cross will be used to support the long term needs of the affected communities, including individual and community resilience, school preparedness, and community rebuilding.

Help Over the Long Term

Two months after the deadly tornadoes hit Oklahoma, the Red Cross is still helping people impacted get back on their feet while at the same time charting a path toward recovery that enables a more resilient Oklahoma.

We continue to work alongside local, state and federal partners to draw up additional plans on the Red Cross’s role in restoring and strengthening Oklahoma.

The Red Cross is presently focused on these four long-term recovery and resiliency areas:

Disaster Case Management - The Red Cross is allocating $10 million for long-term case management. Trained Red Cross caseworkers are meeting one-on-one with people who need extra help with unmet emergency needs and working on plans for aid with recovery. This could include assistance with transportation needs, home repairs, security deposits for new housing and storage of belongings. The Red Cross has established a call center to ensure that current and future clients are served. In addition, the Red Cross is coordinating the case management in partnership with Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul and The Oklahoma United Methodist Church. To date, more than 6,300 cases have been opened to provide individualized support to families.

Individual and Community Resilience - Several committees across the state have already been established, of which the Red Cross is a part of, to determine long-term recovery needs and allocation of funding for Oklahoma communities. These needs could include things like building safe rooms in homes, schools and communities or providing financial assistance to individuals who are not eligible for state and federal program funding. Additionally, there will be a focus on community-based strategies such as health and safety training and small business continuity of operations planning.

School Preparedness - The Red Cross will be coordinating with school officials in Oklahoma to identify program and material needs for schools such as disaster drills, First Aid kits and classroom supplies.

Community Rebuild Projects - The Red Cross is convening a committee to identify and fund repair projects for buildings and infrastructure that are not met by insurance and federal assistance or other unmet needs. For example, providing a new well for the Steelman Estates Housing Association near Shawnee or supporting a psychosocial trauma recovery program.