Post-Hurricane Rescue and Recovery Efforts for People with Disabilities

August 31, 2017

As government officials continue to assess the damage and community needs left in the catastrophic wake of Hurricane Harvey, AUCD staff is actively engaged to ensure that people with disabilities are included in all phases of the rescue and recovery process. AUCD network members in the affected areas also have been communicating with local agencies and participating in disaster integration efforts.

A critical priority is understanding where people with disabilities who have been rescued or evacuated are being placed and whether their needs being met. We know from previous disasters that people with disabilities are at great risk of extended institutional placement during such chaotic events. Multiple organizations are working to ensure that displaced individuals have accommodations that best match their support needs.

Participating in daily calls hosted by the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, (http://www.disasterstrategies.org) AUCD is one of several national disability organizations working to bring assistance to those areas and individuals that were hardest hit by the storm. AUCD also has an existing MOU with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and will continue to partner with the agency as the recovery process continues.

What Can I do?

It's not uncommon for people to be separated from their durable medical equipment (DME) or other needed supports in circumstances such as these. Local agencies and the disaster response teams are overwhelmed with the crisis needs, so they are looking for trained locals in Texas (not immediately impacted by Harvey) who can go to identified shelters and help assess the needs of individuals with disabilities. There are resources available (instructions, assessment forms, etc.) for those who can help. 

Those living outside the immediate Houston metro area are advised not to travel to the city, unless invited. Many roads remain impassable and there are no available accommodations.

Volunteer coordinators would like people identified in the next day or two. At the same time, they are working on identifying a warehouse to receive DME donations, so that when donations arrive, completed assessments will match the equipment to the right person for it.

If you know anyone in the Houston area who can be of assistance with these specific assessment needs, please email Dawn Rudolph at AUCD at drudolph@aucd.org.

We'll continue to provide updates as more information becomes available. Additional resources can be found on the AUCD website: http://www.aucd.org/template/page.cfm?id=544