Disaster Relief

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.

Disaster Services Update – March 10, 2022

Disaster Services Update – March 10, 2022 2000 1501 SVDP USA

The following update was provided by Dick Reimbold, DSC Mideast Regional Disaster Representative.

Disaster Services Corporation - Society of St. Vincent de Paul USA (DSC SVDP-USA), hosted a Parish Recovery Assistance Center at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Carlisle, Kentucky this past week.   

In the Summer of 2021, the residents of Carlisle, experienced a record-breaking flooding event throughout their county.  Per Governor Andy Beshear, the flooding impacted over 80 homes and at least 29 businesses as well as the city’s wastewater treatment plant, fire station, and city garage. The estimated damage to infrastructure, along with the cost of debris removal, totals more than $3.8 million.    

One resident shared,  “I have lived in Carlisle my entire life, for 45 years, and within 43 minutes the flood waters rose and caused me to lose everything in my home, my cars, my pictures, my keepsakes, and my memories.” Another family, a single mother with three children, not only lost her belongings, but her vehicle. Due to the lack of transportation, including public transportation, she lost her job and had to take a job at the local family dollar, which doesn’t cover her monthly expenses.   

However,  for DSC to be able to witness by our presence, not only to the survivors, but to volunteers who had no knowledge of the Society, and its works was a beautiful experience. Less than ten percent of churches in the Diocese of Lexington have a St. Vincent de Paul Conference. The pastor of the church had no knowledge of the Society; but again, being able to witness by our presence, ignited him and several parishioners to start the groundwork to open a Conference and join the Vincentian family.   

The other fruits the trip bore were being able to meet and collaborate with Jim Garrett, the volunteer and donations manager with the state of Kentucky VOAD, Meg Campos, the Executive Director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Lexington, a representative from HOPE, Animals Assisted Crisis Response, and Rhonda Curran Koft from the Carlisle Chamber of commerce and leader of the long-term recovery group.   

We were able to assist and provide intake for over 20 plus families, conduct several Home Visits, and meet with the local Judge, who is the executive of the county, Steve Hamilton, to coordinate partners to help with remediating homes, demolition, and other manual type of assistance.   

Lastly, one of the residents shared one of the most pressing issues for the residents of Carlisle, not just the loss of homes for the survivors whose homes were flooded, but the loss of their local grocery store. The residents have to drive about 30 minutes away to buy groceries and that is problematic for some of the 2,000 residents of Carlisle. 

Disaster Services Update

Disaster Services Update 940 788 SVDP USA

Last week, SVdP’s Disaster Services Corporation conducted a customized training on DSC’s Programs for over 25 Vincentians within the SVdP Denver Metro Council and associated Conferences. The training focused on how Councils and Conferences can leverage DSC’s grants and programs to build capacity for the local Vincentian response to the devastating wildfires that recently swept across Colorado. In addition, DSC spent a large portion of the training focusing on how Vincentians can provide Disaster Case Management services to wildfire survivors.

Vincentians from St. Michael the Archangel Parish Conference joined other northern Colorado Vincentians in directly assisting Marshall fire survivors. We partnered with Catholic Charities representatives operating out of the Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) in Lafayette last month. Officials say that over 900 homes were destroyed and at least another 300 were damaged in the Marshall fire.

Survivors needed housing, food, and clothing assistance. A few were from the St. Louis Parish, the church that was undamaged but located in Louisville where many houses were lost. We met Deacon Dan from St. Louis Parish who said that the church was saved but that he lost his home to the fire. He did not lose his sense of humor as he explained that he is working both sides of the table.

There was little or no warning for most people due to rapid spread of the fire. One couple who had their dog with them said they had no warning and just got their pet and sped off. A woman told us she was on a recurring IV treatment in the Louisville hospital when the hospital evacuation started. Her house was lost.

SVdP activities in Denver began in 1876. Fr. Terry Kissell initiated the formation of the Conference in April 2011. The Conference was aggregated in 2014 in Paris, France. St. Michael the Archangel is one of 28 Conferences that make up the Denver Metro Council. They work closely and often with the Denver Metro Council and other parish Conferences.

Disaster Services Corporation Update Regarding Recent Tornado Outbreak

Disaster Services Corporation Update Regarding Recent Tornado Outbreak 940 788 SVDP USA

Dear Vincentians,

Disaster Services Corporation (DSC) is coordinating its response to the recent devastating tornado outbreak in six states with its South Central, Midwest, North Central, Mideast, and Southeast Disaster Representatives which are part of the DSC Board’s Disaster Operations Committee. DSC is monitoring to meet the needs of survivors by working through state, local, and tribal governments and is actively coordinating with affected states to address unmet needs. We are on daily VOAD calls and conducting Coordination Calls with the Disaster Reps in the regions where the tornados hit.

DSC works through its Disaster Operations Committee and its Regional Committee Members for all disaster relief and recovery efforts. Our Regional Disaster Reps work with their local Vincentian Councils and Conferences, the local Diocese, and the state VOADs to determine the unmet needs of the impacted disaster areas. Disaster recovery takes years, and it is important to have funding for the second stages of disasters like the Parish Recovery Assistance Centers (PRACs) which help disaster survivors get registered for state and federal benefits and where Vincentians can provide spiritual and emotional care. DSC will be providing Rapid Response Grants to Councils that have unmet needs and are working to help their Diocese recover from this very tragic series of tornados.

Please continue to pray for all the families impacted by disasters during this Advent Season and if possible, please volunteer or donate to the relief efforts.

DSC Response Actions 

  • Damage assessment teams, additional staff, and resources are positioned and ready to deploy to Kentucky or any other affected areas.
  • DSC is in contact with state VOADs and state emergency management officials as tornado damage reports come in from Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee.
  • Working with the National Council to ensure funds are available for Rapid Response Grants.

Staying Weather Aware and Safe Before, During, and After Tornadoes 

Residents from east-central Mississippi to extreme southwestern Virginia should stay vigilant as this storm system moves east. Damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes will be possible, mainly early in the day. Isolated strong wind gusts cannot be ruled out over parts of the Mid-Atlantic during the late afternoon and evening.

In any emergency, always follow the instructions given by state, local or tribal emergency management officials. Follow these tips to stay safe after a tornado.

  • Stay out of the area if possible. Emergency workers may be assisting people or cleaning up debris. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way.
  • Enter areas that have sustained damaged only after your local officials have said it is safe to do so. Always follow the direction of your local officials.
  • If you suspect any damage to your home, shut off the electrical power, natural gas, and propane tanks to avoid fire, electrocution or explosions, if you know how to do so safely.
  • Do not touch downed power lines or any objects that are in contact with downed lines. If you see a downed power line or other electrical hazard, report it to the police and the utility company.
  • If you see frayed wiring or sparks, or if there is an odor of something burning, you should immediately shut off the electrical system at the main circuit breaker if you have not done so already.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows and leave the house immediately. Notify the gas company, the police or fire departments, or State Fire Marshal’s office. Do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke, or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return to your house until your local officials say it is safe to do so.
  • Be careful when cleaning up. Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves, and sturdy thick-soled shoes. Do not try to remove heavy debris by yourself. Use an appropriate mask if cleaning mold or other debris. People with asthma and other lung conditions and/or immune suppression should not enter buildings with indoor water leaks or mold growth that can be seen or smelled. Children should not take part in disaster cleanup work.

Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

If you lost power, avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and fires.

  • Use a Generator Safely! Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage, even if doors and windows are open. Keep generators far away from windows, doors, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • Grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning devices should never be used inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace, or any partially enclosed area. These should only be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows.
  • Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home.
  • For additional safety tips before, during or after a tornado visit https://www.ready.gov/tornadoes.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please contact Disaster Services Corporation:

  • DSC Media Point of Contact: Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, Chief Executive Officer at (214) 717-1802 or at ldisco@svdpdisaster.org
  • Vincentian Support and Operations: Kevin Peach, Chief Operating Officer at (202) 924-6212 or at kpeach@svdpdisaster.org

Follow Us

Follow DSC on social media at:  @svdpusadisaster on Twitter, @DisasterServicesCorp Facebook, , and via @disastersericescorp on LinkedIn.

DSC Mission

To model the charism of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul by providing quality programs and services to families and communities impacted by natural and manmade disasters across this great nation.

In Service,

Elizabeth Disco-Shearer
Chief Executive Officer
Disaster Service Corporation

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