County group discusses disaster preparedness
Sep 11, 2013 | 2198 views | 0 0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bolivar County Long Term Recovery Committee encourages the citizens of Bolivar County to get involved and be prepared for a disaster.

"Our organization meets the unmet needs of citizens in Bolivar County, that are affected by local, state or federally declared disaster," said Chairman DeVoyce Morris.

"In the time of disaster, spiritual and emotional services are needed, as well as material possessions; therefore, a special appeal goes to the members of the Bolivar County religious community and others who are willing and able to assist in times of need," added Morris.

The committee met Monday at the Emergency Management Building in Cleveland to discuss the importance of emergency preparedness.

According to Morris, the committee was formed after a devastating flood in 2010, which greatly affected some citizens in Bolivar County.

"Some of the citizens had been displaced and lacked the basic necessities. After such a traumatizing event, I realized that there was a need for a disaster committee," added Morris.

The Bolivar County Long Term Recovery Committee is a non-profit corporation that receives support from a government unit or the general public.

This organization benefits public safety, disaster preparedness and relief, focusing on disaster preparedness and relief services programs.

During the meeting, guest speakers, Chamon Williams, program specialist with the Catholic Charities of Jackson, and Lisa George, community response coordinator with the American Red Cross, reiterated the importance of disaster preparedness by presenting the audience with information about their organizations.

They also explained various services offered through their organizations.

Williams said her organization, Catholic Charities, would begin a supportive service program for veterans throughout Mississippi on Oct. 1.

"This service is for very low income veterans. We will provide rent assistance, transportation, medical expenses and any other service that is approved by our board," said Williams.

The mission of Catholic Charities is to be a visible sign of Christ's love by helping those who are unable to help themselves and it extends to the larger community of the state, nation, and even beyond to the entire human family.

According to Williams, services are provided for all people regardless of religious affiliation, race, color, and country of origin.

George expressed the importance of volunteers during a disaster by showing a video about the effectiveness of Red Cross, due to emergency preparedness.

According to George, Red Cross volunteers touch lives everyday.

She also added that they turn compassion into action through a variety of programs and services.

"The most common type of disaster that we deal with is fire. Whether it's a single house fire in Cleveland or global conflict, Red Cross responds with food, shelter, clothing and care. Recoveries from disasters could take weeks, months, or years," said George.

The Red Cross responds to approximately 70,000 disasters in the United States every year, ranging from home fires that affect a single family to hurricanes that affect tens of thousands, to earthquakes that impact millions.

Although Red Cross is not a government agency, it is an essential part of the response when disaster strikes.

The Red Cross works in partnership with other agencies and organizations that provide services to disaster victims.

The mission of the American Red Cross is to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

George encourages people to volunteer with Red Cross.

"More and more people are getting involved. The best time to prepare for a disaster is during 'blue sky', which is before a disaster happens," added George.

The Bolivar County Long Term Recovery Committee meets quarterly except in cases of emergency.

The next scheduled meeting for the organization is Dec. 2 at 1:30 p.m.

For more information about the committee, please contact Morris at 662-719-0090 or