Friday, August 11, 2017

MCIL and Disaster Recovery

MCIL to be part of the Memphis and Shelby County Recovery Initiative

By Tim Wheat
Dale Lane of the City Office for Emergency Management and Rick Keith of Shelby County OEM invited MCIL to be part of the Memphis and Shelby County Recovery Initiative. This idea sprang from the May 27th storms and is intended to collaborate with recovery services for the city and county.
Memphis O E M Communications Center
MCIL along with about 30 groups met in the OEM communications center that is designed to keep emergency responders informed in the event of a city-wide disaster. It was set up like the White House situation room with communications, multiple screens and emergency lap-tops. Habitat for Humanity, the Red Cross, Hospitality Hub, Deaf Connect and Disability Rights Tennessee were among the groups present along with MLGW, Tennessee state agencies and many city departments.

The focus of the symposium was to assist individuals and families affected by natural disaster, especially those most vulnerable, helping them return to safe, secure and sanitary housing. A natural disaster will consist of the emergency phase followed by response, recovery, mitigation and preparation. Following the crisis, the recovery phase may include many local, state and national resources and will benefit from prior planning and coordination.

The goal of the Recovery Initiative is to build a collaborative network and to communicate effectively following a disaster. The initial goal of the meeting on August 11 was to assist those who may still have needs associated with the May 27th thunderstorm. Continuing to serve as a coalition and prepare for future response and recovery is the long-term goal.

MCIL can certainly help with many parts of the initiative. Most notably is the Center’s ability to understand and advocate for the unique and diverse issues of people with disabilities. Accommodating disability, making physical accessibility possible as well as including sensory, psychiatric and intellectual accommodations is necessary for the Recovery Initiative to be successful.

The OEM reported that more than 800 homes experienced damage in the May storm. They estimate that there are still 500 with unmet needs. This estimate only looks at the structural damage and does not include the human and social harm of the thunderstorm. MCIL noted problems from people in the Memphis area. Topping the list was communication and transportation. People also reported difficulty getting their medications and having access to relief and recovery actions.

The Memphis and Shelby County Recovery Initiative is planning to include disaster case management, communications, construction management, volunteer management, mental health and spiritual care, donations management long-term recovery administration and financial controls. The concept is to create a 501(c)3 non-profit to coordinate the effort among the local participants including MCIL. 

Please check-out our emergency preparedness article for people with disabilities at: