In May 2013 a fast-moving cold front spawned dozens of tornadoes that affected residents of several Midwest states.

Shortly after, World Renew early response coordinators Rich and Pat Grasman went door to door in the city of Moore and the surrounding area to distribute information and provide support to those whose homes were damaged or destroyed. In all, 300 people were injured and 12,000 homeowners were affected by the disaster.

Last week Regional Managers Mark and Carol Martin from World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS) met with local recovery groups to begin coordinating unmet needs assessments with homeowners who still need assistance with home repair and reconstruction.

World Renew DRS prioritizes these door-to-door assessments during the disaster recovery process in which DRS volunteers survey community members to identify their household needs. DRS then delivers the information to the local recovery group which uses it to schedule reconstruction projects.

DRS Building Estimators Dale and Joyce Rhodea will conduct assessments in the Oklahoma City area just after Christmas 2013. Working with Oklahoma United Methodist Church Disaster Response (OK UMC), the couple will provide a building estimate to sixty identified homeowners whose property is in need of repair or rebuilding.

The OK UMC in Oklahoma City then uses the estimates World Renew DRS provides to apply for grants and raise funds to complete the reconstruction.

While World Renew DRS coordinates and partners with many disaster response organizations like OK UMC in locations with larger populations or heavy destruction from a disaster across the US and Canada, staff and volunteers also seek out the smaller communities that get missed in media reports or planning discussions.

“There are other communities surrounding Moore and Oklahoma City that were affected by the tornadoes, but they haven’t been mentioned much in the news,” says DRS Program Manager Art Opperwall. “They need help rebuilding their homes. We anticipate sending volunteer groups to those areas this winter and in spring 2014.”

To help those affected by the Oklahoma Tornadoes with your financial gift, click here.


Photo: FEMA/Andrea Booher.