(TNS) - ALBANY — After several days of providing disaster relief for thousands of residents impacted by tornadoes and storms in Southwest Georgia, the American Red Cross is wrapping up its emergency response and focusing on the recovery process.
With power restored in most areas and clean-up well under way, the Red Cross shelter at the Albany Civic Center has seen a drop in residents. It will close by the end of the day today, and the space will transition back to the city, Red Cross officials said.
Red Cross caseworkers are meeting one-on-one with clients in the shelter and are coordinating with community partners to ensure all residents have a recovery plan in place. Red Cross support in the community will continue through casework and mobile outreach in hard-hit areas, in part through the multi-agency resource center, a “one-stop shop” for survivors of the disaster.
The MARC, at 2602 Dawson Road, opens today and is expected to be operational through Saturday. It hours will be 9 a.m.-7 p.m. today and Friday, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday.
The Red Cross said trained English and Spanish-speaking caseworkers will be available at the MARC to help people create personal recovery plans, navigate paperwork and locate assistance for their specific disaster-caused needs. Representatives from multiple disaster relief organizations will also be on hand at the MARC to assist disaster survivors.
Agencies at the MARC will be available to help those who need long-term recovery assistance such as rebuilding and repairing of homes. Individuals and families can meet with agencies for referrals or other long-term recovery services if they are not eligible for government assistance or if assistance is inadequate, Red Cross officials said.
“As we transition through the closing of the shelter, the Red Cross will continue to work with partners to do everything we can to connect people with the resources they need for recovery,” said Chris Baker, Red Cross Disaster Officer for Georgia.“The Red Cross is grateful to the entire response community – government agencies, other nonprofit groups, faith-based organizations, area businesses and others who came together to coordinate emergency relief efforts in South Georgia.”
Individuals and families applying for assistance are required to bring identification showing address and proof of residence to be eligible for assistance from some agencies.
As of Wednesday, in response to recent storms, 517 Red Cross disaster workers and 15 Emergency Response Vehicles have helped to:
— Operate and support a large shelter for those impacted by the devastating storms;
— Provide a safe refuge for people, resulting in more than 800 overnight shelter stays including cots, blankets, meals and personal hygiene kits;
— Serve nearly 18,000 meals and more than 30,000 snacks through the shelter and mobile feeding with food preparation support from the Second Harvest of South Georgia food bank and the Salvation Army;
— Make nearly 3,000 health and mental health contacts to those suffering;
— Distribute nearly 25,000 bulk supplies such as rakes, shovels, work gloves and kitchen items.
Also Wednesday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that its Mormon Helping Hands agency has volunteers available to remove drywall, insulation, flooring, carpeting, furniture, trees and debris, and to help install tarp roofs, as well as provide other assistance for storm victims.
The volunteer work is offered free of charge, and the Helping Hands group provides tools and equipment needed to carry out the work. Service is not guaranteed because of the overwhelming need, but residents who need help at their storm-damaged properties may register for the volunteer help by calling (800) 451-1954.
Storm assistance is also available through FEMA which has opened three disaster recovery centers in South Georgia.
Registration can be done 9 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays at the Disaster Recovery Center at the former East Albany police center, 1721 E. Oglethorpe Blvd.
Disaster Recovery Centers are staffed with representatives from FEMA, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA)/Homeland Security and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Survivors can get help applying for federal assistance, learn about the types of assistance available, learn about the appeals process and get updates about applications.
FEMA has also opened two other disaster recovery centers in Turner and Cook counties where people can apply for disaster assistance. Those locations have the same hours as the Albany center.
The Turner County center is located at the Turner Civic Center at 354 Lamar Street, Ashburn, Ga. 31714.
The Cook County center is located at the Cook County Administration Building at 1200 S. Hutchinson Avenue, Adel, Ga. 31620.
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