South Mississippians prepare to respond to tornado disaster - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

South Mississippians prepare to respond to tornado disaster

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) – When Katrina tore through South Mississippi, the Hope Community Development Agency immediately went to work. Volunteers have helped hundreds of storm victims put their homes back together. Now, the east Biloxi organization is ready to use that experience in disaster recovery to help tornado victims in Yazoo City.       

"You're just walking around in all this debris and people all around you had lost everything. So yeah, it's very emotional.  It brings it back home really quickly and we want to do everything we can to help our neighbors," said Hope CDA Director Bill Stallworth.

Hope CDA is sending a flatbed trailer, cleanup equipment, and two trailers loaded with tools.

"We'll have nail guns, saws, all the stuff we can to make emergency repairs," said Stallworth.

A team consisting of case managers and about a dozen volunteers will also respond.  Brian Rivers will be heading up the group.  As the Hope CDA Volunteer Coordinator, he is working with local churches to recruit the volunteers.

"There's going to be some needs assessments, finding out what the damage is, helping gather the data," said Rivers.  "But at the same time, we'll have the volunteers on the ground to help with debris removal and start helping people put the puzzle back together."

Almost five years after Hurricane Katrina, many homes in South Mississippi have not been rebuilt. Hope CDA leaders say they don't want the tornado victims to have to wait that long to rebuild their lives.

"What I want to see happen in Yazoo City is, we get there as a group, help them and support them as quickly as we can," said Stallworth.  "We need to help people get their lives back together as quickly as they can. That way, we can ensure that the majority of the people recover."

If you would like to join the team of volunteers, just call Hope CDA at (228) 918-0229.  The United Way of South Mississippi is also helping to coordinate volunteers who want to reach out to the tornado victims.

There are other ways to volunteer or donate to the tornado victims.  The biggest need right now is baby supplies, food and water. 

For more information, you can go to www.volunteermississippi.org or call (888) 353-1793.  Volunteers can also go to www.msema.org.

Donations are also being accepted at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds, Brandon City Hall, and Yazoo County Human Services on E. Broadway Avenue.

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