Community-Based Disaster Recovery Workshops set for July 9 and 10 in Mississippi

June 26, 2014

Free day-long workshops on community-based long-term recovery from disaster will be held July 9 in Tupelo and 10 in Louisville, Miss. The focus will be on meeting unmet needs of survivors of the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that struck the state May 28, affecting 2,390 homes, 1,119 of them with major damage or total destruction. More than 5,000 people registered for FEMA disaster assistance with nearly $17 million approved in federal disaster assistance grants and loans.

The “Recovery Tools and Training” workshops are for anyone dedicated to helping rebuild homes and lives in Mississippi: community-based recovery committee leadership, faith-based groups, religious and other community leaders, social service organizations, disaster case managers and other persons concerned about recovery.

Each workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with check-in from 8:30 to 9 a.m. Registration is strongly recommended by July 5.  Although people may come without registration, it will be helpful to have a good idea of the number of persons at each site to provide lunch, handouts and other materials.

To register, use this registration link:, call 1-866-732-6121 or email

“Recovery Tools and Training” is a program of the humanitarian agency Church World Service, and has been used across the country to assist local communities in their community-based long-term recovery efforts.


Recovery from a disaster event requires a whole-community approach. This workshop gives an overview of community-based long-term recovery and shares lessons learned and best practices gathered from decades of experience in large and small disasters.

Participants will gain an understanding of the long-term recovery process and of how to coordinate its many components, including how to organize a community-based recovery committee, how to identify disaster survivors most in need, disaster case management, construction management, volunteer management, emotional and spiritual care, and management of financial, in-kind and volunteer resources.

Workshop leadership will be provided by CWS, Mississippi VOAD, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Lutheran Disaster Response, World Renew, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, United Methodist Committee on Relief, and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

Our job is to make sure everyone has a chance to recover, regardless of their means,” said Sandra Kennedy-Owes, a CWS emergency response specialist based in Mobile, Ala.  She is organizing the workshops, and said they “seek to strengthen community-based long-term recovery committees as they help rebuild homes and lives.”

Church World Service, an ecumenical agency with 37 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican member communions, is a close working partner in the United States with the American Red Cross, National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) and FEMA in helping people put their lives back together after a disaster.  The agency also is known for its work to combat hunger and poverty, including the CROP Hunger Walk; its U.S. refugee resettlement work, and its international humanitarian assistance program.

CWS Media Contacts:

Carol Fouke-Mpoyo, 212-870-2728;