Disaster Relief

Disaster Services Update on Hurricane Ian

Disaster Services Update on Hurricane Ian 1640 924 SVDP USA

Disaster Services Corporation is actively monitoring Hurricane Ian and its anticipated impact on the state of Florida. We are coordinating with SVdP Council and Conference leadership as well as with the National Council. DSC has sent Rapid Response Grant applications to Council leadership pre-landfall to ensure that funding is available immediately.

As the storm makes landfall, we ask the Vincentian community to keep those in its path in their thoughts and prayers.

We have received several inquiries on how the Vincentian community can help; as soon as we have more information on needs and opportunities to assist, we will post those updates on our website and our social media accounts. We are on calls with FEMA and are monitoring the potential impact of Hurricane Ian.

Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of St. Petersburg invited all in the dioceses throughout to pray to God “for the protection of life and property as we face this serious threat. As Hurricane Ian approaches our area, as we make our final preparations, and as we begin to feel the effects of the storm, I invite you to pray with me.”

As of this morning, the National Hurricane Center predicts the storm will make landfall as a Hurricane 4, slightly weakening as it makes its way across the state. Hurricane Ian is a slow-moving system, which increases the damage and devastation to the communities in its path, producing severe floods and tornado outbreaks.

As we know, storms have the potential to increase and change course. For those being affected by this storm we remind you to seek shelter and await guidance from local officials before making any further action.

Survivors with internet access can contact DSC directly at their website, or via Facebook.

09-29-22 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders

09-29-22 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders 720 720 SVDP USA

Dear Vincentian Friends,

It is the time of the year when hurricanes make headlines as they leave suffering and damage in their wake. I ask you, your Conference, and your Council to consider contributing generously this month to our National Council Annual Disaster Appeal. This is the best and most effective way to get disaster aid to our members working in the United States in cooperation with our Disaster Services Corporation and to provide disaster relief throughout the world through our international structure. This appeal allows us to respond quickly to requests. It also provides funds for disasters that may not make the headlines in your local media. Our Conferences in those areas often need our help just as much as those located where a major hurricane strikes.

Once again, this month in Puerto Rico, such a hurricane struck. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul will be working through our members there to provide assistance to their neighbors in need. We are just starting to get communications from our members in Puerto Rico and are waiting to hear how we can help.

But, as I was writing this, another hurricane was headed toward Florida — with unknown consequences. This illustrates the reason why we have one annual collection that can then be used as we learn the actual needs our Vincentians identify after disasters.

The Society’s Disaster Services Corporation (DSC) gives us excellent capacity to serve after a disaster. The DSC constitutes a knowledgeable team to provide training for our members and to secure private and governmental grants that greatly expand the ability of the Society to serve in these situations. The support the National Council provides for the DSC’s efforts is largely funded by this Annual Disaster Appeal.

In the past year, the DSC has helped Councils in every region of the country respond to floods, tornadoes, wildfires, and hurricanes. The success of this appeal last year meant that we did not have to keep sending out fundraising requests for every one of these efforts. I suspect you would become annoyed with the National Office if we did that.

This appeal will also support the international relief provided by the Society through the Commission for International Aid and Development (CIAD). My position as a vice president on the International Board of Directors is responsible for these grants, and I can assure you that this assistance is very much needed to support the work of our members throughout the world. I also can assure you that the use of the funds is monitored closely, with appropriate reports for accountability.

Again, a single appeal allows us to fund response to many disasters you will never hear about. The single appeal also avoids funds being designated to a country without the capacity of members there to use donations that well-meaning councils might otherwise send.

Before committing funds to a particular disaster, it is important to be certain the local Councils have the people and capacity to put our donations to work. Days before Hurricane Fiona stuck Puerto Rico, a Southeast Region team — led by John Berry, Isabel Darcy and Pam Matambanadzo — were on the island working with our members to strengthen our presence there. While they were in Puerto Rico, they observed that people still have not recovered from Hurricane Maria five years ago.

When major disasters strike, the need for assistance can last for many years. Long after the reporters have left, our Vincentians will be there helping their neighbors.

Please be generous in supporting this campaign. Frédéric Ozanam saw the Society as a network of charity. The network he envisioned has come to embrace the world. It is at its strongest and most caring when we support the work of Councils and Conferences of our Vincentian sisters and brothers faced with relieving the unforeseen suffering of a natural disaster. Finally, let us all be committed to praying regularly for the safety and emotional health of all those who are suffering from the results of these storms and those who are dedicated to bringing them aid.

Serviens in spe,
Ralph Middlecamp
National Council President

September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month 940 788 SVDP USA

National Preparedness Month Information From Disaster Services Corporation

Recently, it was reported that 246 people lost their lives from the ice storms that hit Texas last year.  The United States census bureau also released that at least 1,400 people lost their lives last year due to the fact they were not prepared for extreme cold weather. Not all winter storms are created equal; but when you are properly prepared, it can mean the difference between life and death.

Blizzards and other extreme cold weather events can last from a few hours or a few weeks. It can cause frozen roadways, dangerously high winds, and raise the risk of frostbite and hypothermia.

Like hurricanes, freezing storms can cause widespread power outages, cutting off your access to heat, and increasing the likelihood that your children, elderly loved ones, and pets will get sick from the cold.

That’s why preparing for extreme winter weather is so important. The following is a list of preventive measures you can take to “winterize” your home.

  • Stock your home with enough food, water, and supplies to last for days without power. Essential supplies include batteries, flashlights, radios, portable cell phone chargers, medication, pet food and supplies, and any necessary items for family members with health conditions.
  • Insulate doors and windows with caulk or weather stripping.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly, and keep backup batteries on hand.
  • Insulate walls, attic, and any water lines that run through exterior walls to keep them from freezing.
  • Consider adding exterior storm shutters to your windows for extra protection from flying debris.
  • When temperatures are at or below freezing for an extended period of time, keep faucets on a constant drip to prevent pipes from freezing and potentially bursting.
  • Make sure you know where the main water valve is in your home in case a pipe bursts due to the cold. And schedule a family meeting to brief them on how to shut it off.
  • Make sure your roof is free of leaks. The better shape your roof is in, the less the cold can get in.
  • Cut down any tree branches that may break off and damage your house.
  • Plan on using your fireplace to stay warm? Schedule yearly chimney and flue inspections to ensure it’s safe to use.
  • Have a set of blankets and clothing stored in a water-resistant bag that can be easily accessed in an emergency.

No one ever expects their life to be turned upside-down by a natural disaster, but preparing ahead of time can make a stressful situation a bit easier! #BePrepared

 

Disaster Services Update

Disaster Services Update 940 788 SVDP USA

Besides responding to natural and manmade disasters, the role of Disaster Services Corporation (DSC) is to educate SVdP Councils and Conferences about different types of severe weather. Per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high temperatures kill hundreds of people every year. Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet more than 700 people die from extreme heat every year in the United States and more than 7,000 are hospitalized due to heat-related illnesses.

Those who are at highest risk include, people 65 and older, children younger than two, and people with chronic diseases or mental illness.

Closely monitor people who depend on you for their care and ask these questions:

  • Are they drinking enough water?
  • Do they have access to air conditioning?
  • Do they need help keeping cool?

People at greatest risk for heat-related illness can take the following protective actions to prevent illness or death:

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as you can. Air-conditioning is the number one way to protect yourself against heat-related illness and death. If your home is not air-conditioned, reduce your risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned and using air conditioning in vehicles. Contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling device during an extreme heat event.
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.

Even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather:

  • Limit your outdoor activity, especially midday when the sun is hottest.
  • Wear and reapply sunscreen as indicated on the package.
  • Pace your activity. Start activities slow and pick up the pace gradually.

Is your Council or Conference looking to assist families that have been impacted by a Hurricane? Contact us and see how you can help.

Please follow us at:
www.svdpdisaster.org
Twitter @svdpusadisaster
Facebook @DisasterServicesCorp.

 

Disaster Services Update

Disaster Services Update 940 788 SVDP USA

Besides responding to natural and man-made disasters, the role of DSC is to educate SVdP’ Councils and Conferences about different types of severe weather.  Since we are in the hurricane season, we wanted to share some tips. The best time to prepare for a hurricane is now. It is vital to understand your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind. Here is your checklist of things to do.

  • Know your zone: Do you live near the Gulf or Atlantic Coasts? Find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation area by contacting your local government/emergency management office or by checking the evacuation site website.
  • Put Together an Emergency Kit: Put together a basic emergency kit, canned goods, non-perishable items, and water. Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators, and storm shutters.
  • Write or review your Family Emergency Plan: Before an emergency happens, sit down with your family or close friends and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supplies kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster.
  • Review Your Insurance Policies: Review your insurance policies to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property.
  • Pets: If you plan to evacuate with your pets make sure that the hotel you choose allows animals. Remember to bring their food, medicines, and toy to keep them as stress-free as possible.

Is your Council or Conference looking to assist families that have been impacted by a Hurricane, contact us and see how you can help.

Please follow us at:
www.svdpdisaster.org
On twitter @svdpusadisaster
On Facebook @DisasterServicesCorp

 

Disaster Services Update

Disaster Services Update 940 788 SVDP USA

DSC SVDP-USA is elected to top leadership positions with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster

 The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD), is an association of organizations that mitigate and alleviate the impact of disasters, provides a forum promoting cooperation, communication, coordination, and collaboration; and fosters more effective delivery of services to communities affected by disaster across the United States and American Territories. The NVOAD movement has been making an impact across the country for over 50 years. DSC is also a founding member of National VOAD.

The hard work of NVOAD’s members and volunteers, is reflected in the impact that was made last year:

  1. 9,907,071 – Volunteers
  2. 48,129,263 – Volunteer Hours
  3. $1.3 BILLION – Value of Volunteer Hours

These appointments not only allow DSC to have a pivotal role in recovery nationwide but illustrates the trust and faith other partner organizations in NVOAD have in Disaster Services Corporation’s team and its work.

This year DSC core management members are so honored to be elected to the following top leadership positions with NVOAD:

Kevin Peach- Chair of the Advocacy Committee- group advocates to Congress to change unjust systems that impact survivors. Networks with local, state, and federal policy makers.

Anthony Pluchino- Chair of the Disaster Case Management Committee– sets policy standards for the nation and points on consensus on the best practices for Disaster Case Management Programs across the country. In addition, Mr. Pluchino will network with FEMA and Emergency Management across the nation.

Elizabeth Disco-Shearer- Chairperson of the Board for NVOAD– first time a Catholic is in this role in its 50+ year history and only the second time a woman has been in this role. The Chair oversees a diverse Board of Directors representing all the major disaster nonprofits in the nation and state and territory representatives. FEMA and the White House Office of Faith Based Initiatives leadership also serve as ex-officio members of this Board.

05-19-2022 Disaster Services Update

05-19-2022 Disaster Services Update 836 627 SVDP USA

SVdP-USA Disaster Services Corporation (DSC) has deployed a Rapid Response Team this week to respond to the wildfires that are aggressively spreading across New Mexico. The fires have burned more than 468 square miles over the last 42 days to earn the distinction of being the largest fire in the arid state’s recorded history. It’s also the largest fire currently burning in the U.S.

Gov. Michelle Grisham estimates that at least 1,500 homes have been destroyed. Residents are staying in mass care shelters, hotels, vehicles, and others have been evacuated to northern New Mexico. There are currently three towns on alert who may have to vacate their homes at any given moment.

DSC’s Rapid Response Team is meeting with local Vincentians to train volunteers, document their needs, assess damage, pre-plan DSC’s Parish Recovery Assistance Center (PRAC) deployment, introduce Vincentian leadership to other nonprofits they can work in partnership with, and share best practices in how to handle a disaster while it is still affecting their community.

DSC has been in contact with our collaborating partners, FEMA, Red Cross, Salvation Army, New Mexico VOAD, Catholic Charities, and local government in New Mexico.

One resident described her horrendous experience of putting her three children and pets into her car and just driving for their lives, sleeping in different hotel parking lots, and doing anything they can to survive. Another resident described that he lost his small herd of animals that he depended on for his income and will now likely fall into situational poverty. Lastly, one elderly couple who ended up in a shelter stated, “We need your help, my town is destroyed.”

DSC will be working with SVdP Councils and Conferences in addressing current needs and long-term recovery. Seasoned DSC volunteer and Vincentian, Cathy Garcia, met with one local Vincentian who was actively contacting people who need assistance, as they were packing up their car to evacuate.

How can you help? Please visit the DSC website at www.svdpdisaster.org to support our efforts and prevent more families from falling into situational poverty. DSC will be posting the needs of this community and ways you can help on our website and social media this upcoming week.

4-28-2022 Disaster Services Update

4-28-2022 Disaster Services Update 783 735 SVDP USA

Disaster Services Corporation is responding to the recent flooding and storm damage throughout Middle Tennessee. At least 22 people were killed, including many children. Up to 17 inches of rain fell in Humphreys County in less than 24 hours, shattering the Tennessee record for one-day rainfall. In a community used to tornadoes and seeking shelter in their basements, this flooding left them completely unprepared. They were forced to seek refuge in attics, on rooftops, and in their cars.

The flooding in rural areas took out roads, bridges, and telephone phone lines. “Many of the missing and dead lived in the neighborhoods where the water rose the fastest,” said Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis, who confirmed the 22 fatalities in his county. The dead included twin babies who were swept from their father’s arms, according to surviving family members, and a foreman at county music star Loretta Lynn’s ranch.

Due to the dedication of St. Vincent de Pauls’ Conference at St. Patricks’ Church, lead by Barbara Hooper, Disaster Service Corp. and the amazing Vincentians with the “St. Louis Sluggers,” they have been able to rehab many homes.

According to local estimates there are another 200 homes on the waiting list for assistance. DSC will be posting the needs of this community and ways you can help on our website and social media this coming week.

04/07/2022 – SVdP Disaster Services Corporation Update

04/07/2022 – SVdP Disaster Services Corporation Update 940 788 SVDP USA

Besides responding to natural and manmade disasters, the role of SVdP’s Disaster Services Corporation is to educate SVdP Councils and Conferences about different types of severe weather. Be alert, so you can be prepared for spring storms!

Tornado Watch

A tornado watch means that tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a watch is issued. Acting early helps save lives! Watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center, and a watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states.

Tornado Warning

A tornado warning means one has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. There is imminent danger to life and property. Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy shelter. Avoid windows. If you are in a mobile home, a vehicle or outdoors, move to the closest substantial shelter and cover your head to avoid flying debris. Local NWS offices issue warnings. Warnings typically encompass a much smaller area, around the size of a city or small county. Warnings are issued when a tornado is spotted on the ground or identified by a forecaster on radar.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch

A severe thunderstorm watch means that atmospheric conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorm development. The severe thunderstorm watch outlines an area where an organized threat of severe thunderstorms is expected generally during a three- to six-hour period. Severe thunderstorm watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center after consultation with local National Weather Service offices and can cover several counties to several states at a time.

During a severe thunderstorm watch, it is important to think about where you will be during the lifetime of the watch. If you are outdoors, develop a Weather Ready plan that includes directions to the nearest lightning and hail-proof shelter. Keep in mind that severe hail can smash car windshields, cause injuries and, in the extreme, punch holes in roofs.

Please Follow DSC

Our website: www.svdpdisaster.org
On Twitter @svdpusadisaster
On Facebook @DisasterServicesCorp

03-24-2022 Disaster Services Update

03-24-2022 Disaster Services Update 990 667 SVDP USA

Disaster Service Corporation Society of St. Vincent de Paul USA (DSC SVDP-USA), is responding to the recent tornado outbreak and storm damage throughout the South Central and South Eastern United States. DSC SVDP-USA’s Regional Disaster Representatives and staff are working with Council Presidents to determine what level of support is needed to meet the needs of Vincentian communities across the region. DSC SVDP-USA is prepositioning staff and readying financial and in-kind resources to deploy to these disaster zones.

The path of destruction cut across Texas, where 25 tornadoes touched down Monday killing at least one person in Grayson County, TX, and at least two tornadoes that damaged about 1,000 homes in Williamson County, near Austin. Governor Abbott has declared 16 counties for emergency assistance. On Tuesday, a deadly tornado tore through the New Orleans area, killing at least one person. Widespread destruction was reported in the area. In South Louisiana the communities of Arabi, St. Bernard, and the Lower Ninth Ward were severely impacted.

The storm system that spawned deadly tornadoes across Texas and Louisiana this week will continue to push east Wednesday, leaving a large portion of the country under the threat of more severe weather.

More than 65 million people from central Florida to southern Michigan and east to the Virginia coast are under a slight risk for severe weather Wednesday, including the possibility of large hail, gusty winds and tornadoes. Cities in the threat area include Columbus, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Savannah, Georgia; and Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro in North Carolina.

DSC will be posting the needs of this community and ways you can help on our website and social media this upcoming week.  Also, please follow us on Facebook for our “Lenten reflection “through the Eyes of those suffering from disasters” @DisasterServicesCorp  and check our twitter feed @svdpusadisaster.

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