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TODAY news for Thursday, September 22, 2005

Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center news

Hurricane Katrina relief efforts from Adventist Community Services disaster response

In Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, Adventist Community Services (ACS) disaster response teams are setting up to provide immediate relief to people devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

ACS disaster response volunteers have mobilized to provide the survivors with needed supplies. After medical evaluation, those who have been rescued receive blankets, new clothing, and personal kits including toiletries from ACS disaster response volunteers before they are transported to nearby shelters. The volunteers are distributing supplies that are prepackaged and stored in large truck units that supply nearly 1,700 people, which the workers continually restock.

“We are working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to set up a multi-agency warehouse nearby the devastated areas in Louisiana,” says Lavida Whitson, ACS director for Arkansas-Louisiana Conference. “The multi-agency warehouse will be managed by ACS disaster response and used to supply state-designated distribution sites. Our warehouse operation is where volunteers sort and package donated goods, pull orders, and load trucks for delivery to the affected areas.”

It’s been reported that at least 15 Adventist churches in New Orleans and surrounding areas were flooded, but no Adventist families have suffered casualties.

In response to the damage caused by the hurricane at Bass Memorial Academy in Lumberton, Mississippi, Florida ACS disaster response teams are transporting three generators to provide power to the academy’s campus. The volunteers are also providing food to the local community and volunteers from two feeding units that can each produce 20,000 meals a day.

In Alabama, ACS disaster response leaders are working with the state Emergency Operating Center to conduct assessments of the damages, determine immediate needs, and strategize donation distribution methods.

State officials are working to determine the full scale of the damages and thus have not yet identified specific items to donate. However, “monetary contributions allow responding organizations to purchase exactly what is most urgently needed by hurricane survivors—and to pay for the transportation necessary to distribute the supplies,” reports Disaster News Network.

“By purchasing items nearer to the disaster site, it helps to build the economies of the local areas,” says Joe Watts, national coordinator of ACS disaster response. “The greatest help that anyone can provide is financial contributions.”

To join ACS disaster response in healing the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, please make a donation by visiting    <www.communityservices.org> or calling (800) ACS-2702.

In hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes—whatever and wherever disaster strikes—ACS disaster response is committed to helping communities in crisis.

For more than 100 years, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has provided emergency relief through ACS disaster response.

Working in more than 200 cities across North America, ACS disaster response operates in partnership with FEMA and is a member of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters.

ACD disaster response helps disaster victims through emergency distribution of relief supplies, donation management and warehouse operations, and crisis response centers.

ACS disaster response deploys its volunteers to disaster zones to distribute non-perishable food, clothing, bedding, fresh water, toiletries, and other necessary supplies.

TODAY news for Thursday, September 22, 2005