Special Web feature

National Driller August 2005 e-Newsletter

Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana on Monday, with winds up to 140 mph, leaving in her wake devastation of nightmarish proportions.

Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, as well as some southern Florida counties impacted by Katrina's first landfall, have been declared federal emergencies, and with rising concerns about contaminated floodwaters, the entire Gulf Coast has been declared a public health emergency.

The death toll is climbing, with more than 100 dead in Mississippi alone.

Millions people along the U.S. Gulf Coast are without electricity. Approximately 80 percent of New Orleans is underwater, and many residents remain trapped by the floodwaters.

For those looking to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the following comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency:

Voluntary organizations are seeking cash donations to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina in Gulf Coast states, according to Michael Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response. But, volunteers should not report directly to the affected areas unless directed by a voluntary agency.

“Cash donations are especially helpful to victims,” Brown says. “They allow volunteer agencies to issue cash vouchers to victims so they can meet their needs. Cash donations also allow agencies to avoid the labor-intensive need to store, sort, pack and distribute donated goods. Donated money prevents, too, the prohibitive cost of air or sea transportation that donated goods require.”

Volunteer agencies provide a wide variety of services after disasters, such as clean up, childcare, housing repair, crisis counseling, sheltering and food.

“We're grateful for the outpouring of support already,” Brown says. “But it's important that volunteer response is coordinated by the professionals who can direct volunteers with the appropriate skills to the hardest-hit areas where they are needed most. Self-dispatched volunteers and especially sightseers can put themselves and others in harm's way and hamper rescue efforts.”

Here is a list of phone numbers set up solely for cash donations and/or volunteers.

To donate cash, contact:
American Red Cross
1-800-HELP NOW (435-7669) English,
1-800-257-7575 Spanish;

Operation Blessing

America's Second Harvest

To donate cash and volunteer services, contact:
Adventist Community Services

Catholic Charities, USA
703 549-1390

Christian Disaster Response
941-956-5183 or 941-551-9554

Christian Reformed World Relief Committee

Church World Service

Convoy of Hope

Lutheran Disaster Response

Mennonite Disaster Service

Nazarene Disaster Response

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Salvation Army
1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769)

Southern Baptist Convention -- Disaster Relief
1-800-462-8657, ext. 6440

United Methodist Committee on Relief

For further information, visit the Web site for the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) at www.nvoad.org.