Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Children's Disaster Services cares for children displaced by Ike.

Children's Disaster Services is responding to Hurricane Ike, with 26 childcare volunteers working in shelters in Texas. A rapid response team from Children’s Disaster Services also has cared for children following the train wreck in California (see story below).

Children's Disaster Services is a program of the Church of the Brethren Disaster Ministries. It is the oldest and largest nationwide organization specializing in children's disaster related needs, established in 1980 ( Children's Disaster Services sets up child care centers at the invitation of the American Red Cross and FEMA, using teams of trained and certified childcare volunteers. Most recently, Children's Disaster Services responded to Hurricane Gustav, when childcare volunteers worked in four American Red Cross "super shelters" in Louisiana and Mississippi.

"We have some highly qualified people out in Houston. More are needed," reported Judy Bezon, director of Children's Disaster Services. As of Sept. 16, 26 volunteers were caring for children in shelters in Texas. Project managers for the Hurricane Ike response are Children's Disaster Services volunteers Jean Myers and Sheryl Faus.

The largest shelter where Children's Disaster Services is currently serving children and families is the George Brown Convention Center in Houston, with over 5,000 guests last night, said Roy Winter, executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries. Additional shelters are being served in the area, and a team of childcare volunteers is being sent to San Antonio, another larger shelter with over 2,000 evacuees, he said.

The response to Hurricane Ike has been very good, Winter said, because Children's Disaster Services already had its phone tree activated for Hurricane Gustav and volunteers were alerted and ready to go immediately. The people being served are in a different situation than those served following Gustav, however, he added. This time around, he said, "we are working with the longterm shelters, people who will be unable to return home for quite some time."

Source: 9/17/2008 Newsline Extra

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