Just over two weeks ago, the Montgomery County area was hit with an EF4 tornado; that was just one of 15 tornadoes to touch down late Memorial Day evening. Our initial response, as a County, was one of public safety, initiating search and recovery operations, getting medical care to those in our community who needed it, and evacuating people out of dangerous situations. We worked hard with our Emergency Management partners to successfully accomplish this.
Once the immediate needs were met, we began short-term recovery operations. In this phase, which began on May 28th, the morning after the storms, we focused on any continued search and rescue operations while transitioning to ensuring shelters were in place, establishing food and water distribution sites, assessing the damage, beginning debris clean-up efforts and managing the large number of volunteers seeking to help out in any way they could. This has been a fantastic group effort. But, we are not even close to being done.
The next and final phase is Long-Term Recovery Operations. This phase will last the longest. The goal at this time is to determine the needs of our community members that have not been met and how we plan to address them. The County will identify those families and those individuals who still need health care-including mental health and disability assistance, affordable and accessible housing, infrastructure systems, employment, and other basic human needs.
Jeff Jordan is Montgomery County’s Emergency Management Director and has been behind the scenes keeping relief efforts moving forward. He said he will continue to lead the recovery efforts but it will be a team effort: “The saying ‘it takes a village’ is absolutely true when dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster. Montgomery County is teaming up with other representatives from government, business, faith-based, non-profit, and other organizations to develop a county-wide, long-term recovery effort.”
For the long-term recovery operations, the County is partnering with the following organizations:
- The Dayton Foundation
- Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response
- American Red Cross
- St. Vincent de Paul
- Sinclair Community College
- Miami Valley Community Action Partnership
- Catholic Social Services
- The Salvation Army
- St. Mary’s Development Corporation
- Rebuilding Together Dayton
- Goodwill/Easter Seals Miami Valley
- United Way of Greater Dayton
The group is planning development of a collaborative, functional structure to define long-term recovery operations in the County, focusing on those unmet needs of the community. Next week, they will determine staffing needs, administrative support and structure, and financial controls and reporting. Montgomery County will finalize the structure of our functional areas, some of which will be:
- Housing/Construction Management
- Administration/Financial Controls & Reporting
- Disaster Case Management
- Resource & Volunteer Coordination
- Medical/Mental Care
Montgomery County Commissioner, Debbie Lieberman, said long-term recovery will likely last a few years. “We understand that this will be a long-term recovery. We are committed to an ongoing effort to ensure the deserving people in our community get the help and care they need. We are developing policies and procedures to ensure residents receive the assistance they need to include follow-up care.” Developing a robust case management strategy will also ensure all resources are maximized.
The structure and committees for the long-term recovery group will be solidified next week. Montgomery County will ensure that there is ongoing communication about the recovery effort, including how to get needed assistance, how individuals can assist in the recovery, and documentation of funds received and used.