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News & Press: Disaster Preparedness and Trauma Response

Louisville Mississippi needs OUR help!

Friday, May 9, 2014   (0 Comments)
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An Important Message from Our National President, Joe E. Benton

Help Us Help Louisville, Mississippi

In the wake of dangerous tornadoes that tore through the South, one town epitomizes all that should concern us about relief efforts in the Black Communities throughout this nation and the world.  That town is Louisville (pronounced Lewisville), Mississippi. 


In scant news reports, Louisville was hit by the brunt of the storms, with 10 out of the 35 people reported dead being in and around Louisville.  Louisville is a town of 6, 600 people of whom nearly 53% are Black and nearly a third of the residents live below the poverty level.  The tragedy will be ongoing for years to come, but because Louisville is off the beaten track, help will be slow coming.  Fortunately, through the collaborative work of NABSW and other affinity groups, FEMA is more responsive to the needs of Black Communities and is already doing its work.  But government can only do so much. 


According to reports hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed.  The town’s medical center was severely damaged and people were diverted to Starkville, 70 miles away for treatment.  Jackson is 90 miles to the west.  We are all aware of treatment services, in rural communities are dependent upon transportation and for the poor such transportation, in emergencies, is non-existent.  Because of the rampant poverty, home ownership is low and when their dwellings were destroyed, all that the people possess are also gone.  Most of the residents are literally starting from nothing and are devastated, every possible way.


What NABSW can do?  We need to help by donating

From our experiences in Alabama, two years ago and recently in Sandy, we have found two ways that we can assist.  Generally, if we have a chapter in the affected area, many of our members volunteer to deliver counseling services to survivors.  In addition to counseling, NABSW members provided information and referral services for their brothers, sisters and families in need.  Such services like this are severely needed and we will need to strategize as to whether we can get that level of involvement.


In the situation in Louisville, cash donations, will be essential.  Though FEMA is there, a people who have lost everything, have no money and now lack the means because of destroyed businesses, even to work, cannot be totally reliant upon government.  Our experience is to distribute $25 - $50 Walmart gift cards to the most needy and working through the local Black leaders, we can do this.  We are asking, chapters and individuals to donate to this effort.  Monetary donations, specifically designated for Louisville, will be collected at our National Office and gifts cards will be purchased to be distributed to Louisville residents. 


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