Henryville and Other DisastersMarch 30th, 2012 at 4:12 pm by Eric Halvorson under Eric Halvorson's Blog
No photo fully reveals the tornado trauma of Henryville. Major John Turner can assure you of that. As a member of the Salvation Army, he has seen the power of a flooded Mississippi River. He’s seen what Hurricane Katrina did.
Now, as the Divisional Commander for the Salvation Army of Indiana, he describes Henryville as “unfortunately similar. Things are just wiped out.”
After a natural disaster, the natural human impulse is to help the victims. And, “rightfully so,” Major Turner says. But that desire “can create somewhat of a shortage right here in our own local communities.”
The Salvation Army saw it after the earthquake hit Haiti and after the tornado hit Joplin, Missouri. Donations dry up — at least for matters most of us might consider routine.
The Salvation Army says, right now, it’s seeing an increase in demand for service at its shelters. More children are using the Army’s after school programs. And, there’s “a steady increase” in requests for emergency rent or food assistance in central Indiana.
Major Turner told me the money going south, created “a vacuum where we are, right in this state, where there are disasters happening in individuals’ lives right here in Indianapolis … and those disasters, those individual disasters, are just as real to them as a larger disaster to all those” victims of a tornado or an earthquake or a flood.
The Salvation Army says without continued funding it’s day-to-day services “could suffer.”
The American Red Cross says the shift of resources could influence its readiness for another disaster. John Lyter, the CEO of the Indianapolis chapter of the Red Cross, says “you’re exactly right. You have to have some money in the bank to get started. To make financial commitments, to get food, to have the equipment that you need, have gas in the tank.”
Remember that, if these agencies ask you for a little extra help, this spring or this summer.
As someone in Henryville told us: money “will always be good as gold.”