The People’s Response to the Oklahoma tornadoes has been powerful, fierce. Our work will be long-term, but immediate results are being seen. I envision three interconnected yet separate components to disaster recovery; response, relief, and renewal.
Our immediate response has been a great success: we’ve been able to assess damage on the ground, get people into emergency housing, help them secure their homes, and provide connections for outside volunteers to plug into affected communities, prioritizing the most impoverished and overlooked.
As the emergency period has passed, we’ve moved into the relief stage. Aid distribution centers have been set up with hubs identified for each community. Currently there are four MARC (Multi-Agency Resource Center) locations set up. These are locations where people can connect with the NGOs, nonprofits, and other official organizations that have resources to aid in their recovery. Decentralized relief teams should assess what is being provided in these locations and identify gaps that our people can fill. These are also great locations to meet people affected, as the media will be directing people there. Meet the people, see what they need, and identify how to serve them directly.
Besides the MARCs, there are community centers in every small town where people are gathering. Whether they are faith-based, local union halls, or community storm shelters, these are locations that are helping distribute supplies in the affected community.
As we identify cleanup, dropoff, and food/shelter/housing sites, our web team is putting them on our map. The people who are working behind the scenes to make this happen really make this all happen, so share this map and the OpOkRelief.net website.
Our friends from Occupy Sandy have helped us create a cell loop to get info blasts out quickly. The public & volunteers should text @okalert to 23559 for up-to-the-second information on needs.
Relief teams are doing what they can on the ground, but we’ve started to see need for heavy equipment. Folks who have access to large equipment and the ability to use it are needed. We need large tractors with forks and/or pinchers, skid steers with the same forks and pinchers, excavators with thumbs, bulldozers, and overhead loaders. Pretty much in that order of importance. Volunteer your services at the OpOkRelief.net/Volunteer.
Relief and renewal stages will overlap, somewhat.
As previously stated, OpOK Relief teams will need to help coordinate debris removal, aid distribution centers, independent and roving medical clinics/workshops, bioremediation for toxic areas, house-gutting, roof-tarping, building Infoshops and other neighborhood centers, tech support for non-profits, supporting community and backyard gardens, anti-racism training for volunteers, tree planting, and legal counselling services. We’ve managed to bring in some wonderful folks from Haiti Communitere, Occupy Sandy, and decentralized Katrina operations to help out. We are grateful for their experience and help.
And we are grateful to everyone who has donated their time and effort to the tornado relief effort. We are building the new world in the shell of the old. We can make this small part of the world more sustainable, more interconnected, and on a framework that values people. When we come together to do this work, we are prefiguring a new kind of politics, creating relationships and connections that will allow us to overcome any sort of adversity.
There is nothing more powerful than the people. All power to the people. ♥ #OpOK