Statement issued Thursday:
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Department of Homeland Security has been asked to spread the word that unsolicited goods and volunteers are hindering the effectiveness of response and recovery efforts in Joplin, Missouri.
Emergency responders in Missouri say that critical resources and personnel in the affected area are being redirected from the important work of response and relief to managing what has become a deluge of unneeded donated items and independent volunteers.
The single best way to help disaster survivors is with a cash donation to a legitimate relief agency, such as the American Red Cross, operating in the area. The type and amount of items required can change hourly as needs keep pace with the rapidly evolving emergency situation. Cash is far more flexible than goods and allows voluntary agencies to more quickly acquire the supplies needed to address the most urgent needs.
For information about how to assist with Missouri relief efforts, Visit the Missouri Emergency Management Agency at http://sema.dps.mo.gov/recover/donations.asp.
Well-meaning individuals who simply show up to help without prior contact or coordination with disaster management personnel in Missouri can further complicate or even hinder response and recovery operations already underway.
Many social networking sites are promoting impromptu collection drives while radio stations, businesses, fraternal organizations and churches around the country fill semis with unrequested items that threaten to crowd warehouses and clog distribution channels in the impacted area.
For more information about other ways to help, go to www.fema.gov/rebuild/recover/howtohelp.