AmeriCorps and Senior Corps Responding to Natural Disasters Across Southern and Midwestern U.S.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
Apr 29, 2011
AmeriCorps and Senior Corps Responding to Natural Disasters Across Southern and Midwestern U.S.
Washington, D.C. – AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers are helping communities respond in the wake of the devastating tornadoes and flooding across the Southern and Midwestern United States.

The tornadoes that ripped through Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, and Virginia on Wednesday were the deadliest in 37 years, causing nearly 300 deaths and billions dollars of damage. They came as communities in other states are reeling from the effects of flooding and severe storms.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is working closely with FEMA, state emergency officials, state service commissions, and nonprofit organizations to assess the dynamic situation and determine the most effective role for national service participants in response to these disasters.

“Our thoughts are with the families and communities that have been devastated by the severe storms and tornadoes,” said Patrick A. Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Working closely with state and local officials and nonprofit organizations, we are deploying national service resources to help individuals and families in dire circumstances get the help they need.”

Here is a summary of current national service responses to natural disasters.

Alabama: AmeriCorps NCCC teams are on standby to help the residents of Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, some of the hardest hit areas in the Alabama tornadoes.

Kentucky: AmeriCorps members in Kentucky serving with the American Red Cross Louisville Chapter, the Homeland Security Corps, and the Senior Connections AmeriCorps Program are providing vital services to those affected by flooding throughout the state, including preparing shelters and leading Community Emergency Response Teams to support first responders in emergency response.

Oklahoma: RSVP volunteers in Oklahoma are providing assistance to the residents of Tushka, where an EF-3 tornado hit. The RSVP volunteers have helped families relocate, cleared debris, prepared and delivered meals, and provided transportation to seniors with critical medical appointments. Additionally, two AmeriCorps National Preparedness and Response Corps members have been dispatched to Oklahoma to assist in disaster recovery efforts.

Mississippi: An AmeriCorps NCCC team was on the ground in Clinton, Mississippi within 24 hours after a tornado struck to assist the Salvation Army with food preparation and distribution to first responders and evacuation shelters. An additional NCCC team is working the City of Vicksburg to notify residents about pending flooding nd assessing the number of residents in each home to assist first responders.

Missouri: AmeriCorps VISTAs in Poplar Bluff are helping with evacuation efforts, setting up a shelter for displaced residents affected by severe flooding in Southeast Missouri. AmeriCorps St. Louis Safety Corps is working closely with the Missouri State Emergency Management Corps to implement response operations in the region, clearing debris and assisting residents.

North Dakota: More than 1,000 RSVP participants have organized and registered volunteers for sandbagging efforts in North Dakota. On March 1, over a million sandbags have been prepared in Fargo. AmeriCorps programs with the YMCA and Youth Works in Fargo put 70 AmeriCorps members to work, providing local assistance to affected residents by sandbagging, collection food and water donation, and setting up shelters.

North Carolina: An AmeriCorps NCCC team has been dispatched to Bertie County to help with cleanup efforts, food donations and distribution, and assistance to first responders.

Ohio: RSVP volunteers in Athens and Meigs Counties have acted swiftly in the face of potential flooding risks, monitoring river levels and flood threats and surveying the impact of the tornado damage.

Virginia: More than 210 RSVP volunteers in Pulaski, Virginia are organizing supply drives for clothing and person hygiene kits and overseeing donation management to ensure efficient distribution of food and clothing. Six of the RSVP Volunteers are assisting the American Red Cross Command Center in the recovery efforts.

Wisconsin: An AmeriCorps NCCC team has been deployed to Adams County to assist in debris removal and clean up efforts as a result of a tornado that moved through the area.

From forest fires and floods, to hurricanes and tornadoes, to terror attacks and oil spills, participants in CNCS programs have provided critical support to millions of Americans affected by disasters since 1994. Reflecting the agency's growing expertise and commitment in disaster preparedness and response, CNCS has made disaster services one of agency's focus areas for its 2011-2015 strategic plan.

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Media Contact

Samantha Jo Warfield
(202) 606-6775
sjwarfield@cns.gov

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