Washington D.C. – AmeriCorps members from the AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team have already been deployed to several sites in Missouri in response to the storms that tore through the Midwest yesterday, and more deployments expected in the coming days.
Missouri state emergency officials requested assistance from AmeriCorps programs in Stone and Taney counties, where a significant portion of the damage occurred. Less than 24 hours after the storms hit, 19 members from AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team had boots on the ground in hard-hit towns like Branson, which sustained significant damage. Additional deployments are waiting on standby in the coming days.
Two Volunteer Reception Centers (VRCs) with six members each opened today in Branson and Kimberling City to focus on community volunteer coordination, debris removal, tarping, and emergency shelter services. These VRCs are led by experienced AmeriCorps members trained in disaster relief who provided vital support in the Joplin Tornado response in 2011.
“We are working hard to support to the people of Taney and Stone counties and provide an effective disaster relief operation,” said Chad Angell, a team leader with AmeriCorps St. Louis. “Together, AmeriCorps members and everyday volunteers are critical in getting those affected by disasters on a pathway to recovery.”
Additionally, a team of five members are being utilized to battle a pre-existing wildfire worsened by the severe weather in Dallas and Laclede counties. Two more are serving as extra support for the state's 2-1-1 hotline and other recovery operations.
These members all come from AmeriCorps St. Louis, a unique program dedicated to emergency response services most notable for its disaster response and recovery work following the Joplin tornado in May 2011. Since the program's inception in 1994, AmeriCorps St. Louis members have performed more than two million hours of service.
The agency is coordinating closely with FEMA and state agencies to monitor further storms and determine the most appropriate deployments for national service participants. CNCS has contacted other AmeriCorps grantee programs with expertise in disaster response and placed them on standby for potential deployment in the affected states.
For those interested in volunteering or contributing to response efforts, or for homeowners in need of assistance in Taney and Stone counties, please visit americorps-stl.org.
CNCS, a federal agency, provi.des support, expertise, and trained volunteers to help communities prepare for, mitigate, respond, and recover from natural and man-made disasters. From forest fires and floods, to hurricanes and tornadoes, participants in CNCS programs have provided critical support to millions of Americans affected by disasters since 1994. For more information on national service disaster response, visit www.nationalservice.gov/disaster.