FREEDOM OR ANARCHY,Campaign of Conscience.

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Community pitches in after natural disasters while FEMA twiddles thumbs


As President Trump settles into the Oval Office, most folks dealing with dire emergencies would probably agree that FEMA is one of the executive agencies that deserves disbanding

Community pitches in after natural disasters while FEMA twiddles thumbs




Disorganization of federal agencies is never more evident than when a natural disaster strikes and the bureaucracy charged with coordinating relief efforts is nowhere to be found. The South has had more than its share of weather related tragedies over the last decade and, despite the numerous opportunities for FEMA to learn from past inefficiency, nothing has changed.

What has changed in Mississippi is how well the community and churches have garnered real experience on what not to do, turning it into lessons of what must and can be done. Number one on the list is – don’t bother waiting for the feds. Roll-up your sleeves, fire up the tractor, grab your shovel and chainsaw and dive in.

After this last bout with savage storms that brought an F4 tornado barreling through Petal, Mississippi in the wee hours of January 21, the community did just that. The last devastating tornado swept across the area in 2013 and even after the Katrina catastrophe some years before, the community still wasn’t adequately equipped to deal with another long cleanup. Following that experience, neighbors learned from the past and a HAM radio network was established which connected affected areas with the rest of the state, providing a detailed tracking of where the pre-dawn tornado traveled and what level of destruction was left in its wake.

One of the operators participating in this network is one of our own, Lewis Garvin, a disabled Viet Nam veteran with a quadriplegic daughter who witnessed the demolition of his home just three minutes after managing to follow the family into the basement – a difficult maneuver for a paraplegic but it saved his life. Immediately after the roaring wind passed and utter silence remained, he engaged the battery-operated HAM set and reported in with the initial damage and the fact that all were unharmed.

What I hadn’t known was how sophisticated is the network. Each report is digitized as operators called in and a map was generated of where the tornado touched down. This created a record of the tornado’s path, what neighborhoods suffered damage and when, making it easier for first responders to arrive on-scene where they were most needed. Even with this increased knowledge of the essential needs, because the administrative procedure for government intervention is so cumbersome, FEMA is the last to show up.

Within 24 hours Samaritan’s Purse was on-site but it was neighbors and churches who delivered immediate assistance. As soon as insurance adjusters examined the homes that had coverage, which for some was quickly done, families and friends began digging out what could be salvaged. The Red Cross showed up mostly to assess damage but it was the churches that set-up shelter and kitchens for the families who’d lost their homes. The Salvation Army, usually one of the first to undertake assistance, had to bring in their troops from the outside, their own facility being heavily damaged.

As for our friend Lewis, his specially outfitted van was a loss, one of the trees having fallen across his wife’s car and onto the van’s roof, crushing it. First on his list was getting the family to a safe haven while he waited for the adjuster to survey the extent of damage. Lewis was lucky as were others, many of them friends, who escaped without bodily injury. Some of the stories are harrowing and heart-rending, yet the expressions of faith and prayer that brought them through their worst nightmare are nothing short of inspiring.

The hardest part of any of these tales of natural disasters is the fact that municipalities and county governments are restrained from undertaking removal of trees and debris blocking streets and waterways until the federal government weighs in. Petal Mayor Hal Marx had to wait until he heard from the feds as to whether they would reimburse the city for clearing streets and reconstruction before he could set maintenance workers into motion. When it came to describing the challenges confronting individuals as well as cities and counties trying to get the ball rolling toward cleanup and recovery, Lewis said that getting anything done is blocked “because of red tape. That needs to stop.”


This is the best example for how backward is the system that ties the hands of local government while the feds, who have no sense of immediacy, ponder whether the devastation is sufficient for them to offer support. Federal agencies have usurped and impeded local control of emergency services, and even MEMA, the state’s version of FEMA, had its own obstacles to overcome.

The fact that taxation is levied to fund agencies top heavy with management that must render a decision regarding a local disaster is worse than inefficient, it is a travesty. Work needs to begin immediately after a disaster, not days, weeks or months while agencies decide how to spend funds that never should have left the community. FEMA is the epitome of government waste of money and, most importantly, time when lives are at stake.

Communities are best suited to help themselves and the role of the church is to be the backbone of the community in good times and bad. What is happening in Petal right now, where neighbors are out removing uprooted trees, clearing flotsam from roads and driveways so families can gather what’s left, is the most effective use of resources. Taking responsibility for themselves is far more sensible than waiting on some D.C. bureaucrat, having no urgency, to decide how to proceed and where to allocate funds. It is, and has been, a recipe for failure.

As President Trump settles into the Oval Office, most folks dealing with dire emergencies would probably agree that FEMA is one of the executive agencies that deserves disbanding. It has proven to be over-populated with pencil pushers who have no clue what are the true needs on the ground in the face of a real disaster. Keep those tax dollars in the community, distributed by the community members among their own churches and charitable organizations. The most effective disaster relief is not provided by government. Charity, indeed, begins at home.

Addendum:

If you would like to add your contribution to directly aid individuals including Lewis, helping him replace his home and van, which he uses in his daily service to other veterans, and others like him who have lost their homes and worldly goods, go to this link and donate whatever the Lord places on your heart to give…

This site is sponsored by Yes Christ church organization that disburses all funds directly to individuals in true need.

A. Dru Kristenev
Former newspaper publisher, A. Dru Kristenev,  grew up in the publishing industry working every angle of a paper, from ad composition and sales, to personnel management, copy writing, and overseeing all editorial content. During her tenure as a news professional, Kristenev traveled internationally as both a representative of the paper and non-profit organizations.


Pro Deo et Constitutione –
Libertas aut Mors Semper Vigilans Fortis
Paratus et Fidelis
Joseph F Barber


LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD 




LIKE 




FOLLOW





THE FAMILY ASSISTANCE CAMPAIGN


URBAN-SURVIVAL-PACKS
Click to Donate Now!


As President Trump settles into the Oval Office, most folks dealing with dire emergencies would probably agree that FEMA is one of the executive agencies that deserves disbanding

Community pitches in after natural disasters while FEMA twiddles thumbs




Disorganization of federal agencies is never more evident than when a natural disaster strikes and the bureaucracy charged with coordinating relief efforts is nowhere to be found. The South has had more than its share of weather related tragedies over the last decade and, despite the numerous opportunities for FEMA to learn from past inefficiency, nothing has changed.

What has changed in Mississippi is how well the community and churches have garnered real experience on what not to do, turning it into lessons of what must and can be done. Number one on the list is – don’t bother waiting for the feds. Roll-up your sleeves, fire up the tractor, grab your shovel and chainsaw and dive in.

After this last bout with savage storms that brought an F4 tornado barreling through Petal, Mississippi in the wee hours of January 21, the community did just that. The last devastating tornado swept across the area in 2013 and even after the Katrina catastrophe some years before, the community still wasn’t adequately equipped to deal with another long cleanup. Following that experience, neighbors learned from the past and a HAM radio network was established which connected affected areas with the rest of the state, providing a detailed tracking of where the pre-dawn tornado traveled and what level of destruction was left in its wake.

One of the operators participating in this network is one of our own, Lewis Garvin, a disabled Viet Nam veteran with a quadriplegic daughter who witnessed the demolition of his home just three minutes after managing to follow the family into the basement – a difficult maneuver for a paraplegic but it saved his life. Immediately after the roaring wind passed and utter silence remained, he engaged the battery-operated HAM set and reported in with the initial damage and the fact that all were unharmed.

What I hadn’t known was how sophisticated is the network. Each report is digitized as operators called in and a map was generated of where the tornado touched down. This created a record of the tornado’s path, what neighborhoods suffered damage and when, making it easier for first responders to arrive on-scene where they were most needed. Even with this increased knowledge of the essential needs, because the administrative procedure for government intervention is so cumbersome, FEMA is the last to show up.

Within 24 hours Samaritan’s Purse was on-site but it was neighbors and churches who delivered immediate assistance. As soon as insurance adjusters examined the homes that had coverage, which for some was quickly done, families and friends began digging out what could be salvaged. The Red Cross showed up mostly to assess damage but it was the churches that set-up shelter and kitchens for the families who’d lost their homes. The Salvation Army, usually one of the first to undertake assistance, had to bring in their troops from the outside, their own facility being heavily damaged.

As for our friend Lewis, his specially outfitted van was a loss, one of the trees having fallen across his wife’s car and onto the van’s roof, crushing it. First on his list was getting the family to a safe haven while he waited for the adjuster to survey the extent of damage. Lewis was lucky as were others, many of them friends, who escaped without bodily injury. Some of the stories are harrowing and heart-rending, yet the expressions of faith and prayer that brought them through their worst nightmare are nothing short of inspiring.

The hardest part of any of these tales of natural disasters is the fact that municipalities and county governments are restrained from undertaking removal of trees and debris blocking streets and waterways until the federal government weighs in. Petal Mayor Hal Marx had to wait until he heard from the feds as to whether they would reimburse the city for clearing streets and reconstruction before he could set maintenance workers into motion. When it came to describing the challenges confronting individuals as well as cities and counties trying to get the ball rolling toward cleanup and recovery, Lewis said that getting anything done is blocked “because of red tape. That needs to stop.”


This is the best example for how backward is the system that ties the hands of local government while the feds, who have no sense of immediacy, ponder whether the devastation is sufficient for them to offer support. Federal agencies have usurped and impeded local control of emergency services, and even MEMA, the state’s version of FEMA, had its own obstacles to overcome.

The fact that taxation is levied to fund agencies top heavy with management that must render a decision regarding a local disaster is worse than inefficient, it is a travesty. Work needs to begin immediately after a disaster, not days, weeks or months while agencies decide how to spend funds that never should have left the community. FEMA is the epitome of government waste of money and, most importantly, time when lives are at stake.

Communities are best suited to help themselves and the role of the church is to be the backbone of the community in good times and bad. What is happening in Petal right now, where neighbors are out removing uprooted trees, clearing flotsam from roads and driveways so families can gather what’s left, is the most effective use of resources. Taking responsibility for themselves is far more sensible than waiting on some D.C. bureaucrat, having no urgency, to decide how to proceed and where to allocate funds. It is, and has been, a recipe for failure.

As President Trump settles into the Oval Office, most folks dealing with dire emergencies would probably agree that FEMA is one of the executive agencies that deserves disbanding. It has proven to be over-populated with pencil pushers who have no clue what are the true needs on the ground in the face of a real disaster. Keep those tax dollars in the community, distributed by the community members among their own churches and charitable organizations. The most effective disaster relief is not provided by government. Charity, indeed, begins at home.

Addendum:

If you would like to add your contribution to directly aid individuals including Lewis, helping him replace his home and van, which he uses in his daily service to other veterans, and others like him who have lost their homes and worldly goods, go to this link and donate whatever the Lord places on your heart to give…

This site is sponsored by Yes Christ church organization that disburses all funds directly to individuals in true need.

A. Dru Kristenev
Former newspaper publisher, A. Dru Kristenev,  grew up in the publishing industry working every angle of a paper, from ad composition and sales, to personnel management, copy writing, and overseeing all editorial content. During her tenure as a news professional, Kristenev traveled internationally as both a representative of the paper and non-profit organizations.


Pro Deo et Constitutione –
Libertas aut Mors Semper Vigilans Fortis
Paratus et Fidelis
Joseph F Barber


LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD 




LIKE 




FOLLOW





THE FAMILY ASSISTANCE CAMPAIGN


URBAN-SURVIVAL-PACKS
Click to Donate Now!



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