Crisis Response in Alabama

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April 30, 2011; Source: The Christian Science Monitor | In Tuscaloosa, Ala., local officials and relief workers are responding to the challenge of providing aid to a city that has lost the bulk of its infrastructure as a result of last week’s tornado. The Christian Science Monitor reports that with at least 1,000 residents injured and 37 dead, and a lack of power and clean water, the city’s mayor, Walt Maddox, has called the situation in his city a “humanitarian crisis.”

According to the Monitor, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, FEMA and volunteer church groups have all dispatched support staff throughout Alabama, but are still in the process of assessing the precise need within the region. The Red Cross is housing 1,500 people in 65 shelters throughout the state and the Salvation Army has set up 38 “feeding units” and a shower trailer throughout Mississippi and Alabama.

FEMA has also established a support base in Maxwell, Ala., for backup supplies such as food, water and tarps. As an alternative source of support, the Monitor notes that church groups “from Ohio to North Carolina are organizing relief trips and filling semi-trailers with clothing and food.”

Emphasizing the degree of human hardship that this storm has brought, the Monitor cites a Pratt City, Ala., man who told reporters, "There are some people, all they have got is a robe, so we got to find clothing for them and provide those things for them, so that they can start back rebuilding their lives."—Anne Eigeman