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Another disaster? 'We're ready'

BY HEATHER MOYER | BOSTON | September 17, 2001

"We're spread out enough. We have conferences in each region and we're confident that we can handle it."

—Wendy Whiteside

From responding to immense

terrorist tragedies in the U.S. to helping those in

Florida recover from last weekend's tropical storm,

disaster relief groups are trying to help those in need


How difficult is it to respond to simultaneous disasters?

Wendy Whiteside of the United Methodist Committee on

Relief (UMCOR) said UMCOR is fortunate enough to have a

broadly based church. "We have people trained in Florida

that are ready to respond, and we have people trained to

respond in New York and New Jersey," said Whiteside.

"We're spread out enough. We have conferences in each

region and we're confident that we can handle it."

And most faith-based disaster relief agencies are set up

the same way, with their response teams based in

different regions of the country ready to handle that

region's problems. Church World Service has disaster

resource consultants (DRCs) split up to cover regions of

the U.S. based on how the Federal Emergency Management

Agency divides the country into regions.

Bev Abma of the Christian Reformed World Relief

Committee (CRWRC) said the same goes for her agency. "We

respond to every event with our state and local groups,"

said Abma. CRWRC has also responded to the terrorist

attacks and is prepared for the response in Florida.

Abma voiced one the challenges, though: The longevity of

some disasters is tough, and sometimes volunteers have

to be encouraged to take a break, she said. "But we're

set for now, we're ready for what's happening."

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