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The Role of Faith-Based Organizations in Disaster Response

Publisher: The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy

When disaster strikes around the world, faith-based organizations are among the first on the scene to help. In recent years in the United States, religious groups were perhaps most visible in the relief and recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In fact, they have a long tradition of aiding victims of disasters. These organizations range from those that are well-known -- such as The Salvation Army and Methodist Church -- to thousands of smaller churches, mosques and synagogues that open their doors to provide emergency supplies of food, clothing and shelter to victims of catastrophic events.

To better understand the role faith-based organizations play in providing assistance during disasters, the Roundtable offers the following resources:


Related Roundtable News Stories:

Panel Urges Next President to Support Nonprofits in Disaster Recovery
Anne Farris, Roundtable Correspondent
Published: 9/16/08

Financial Catastrophe Looms for Interfaith Disaster Recovery Group
Claire Hughes, Roundtable Correspondent
Published: 9/9/2008

Report: Nonprofits Need Government to Lead Gulf Coast Recovery
Claire Hughes, Roundtable Correspondent
Published: 10/16/2007

Houses of Worship Work to Restore Services in New Orleans Neighborhoods
Claire Hughes, Roundtable Correspondent
Published: 08/29/2007


Religious Organizations Get Government’s Respect But Roles in Disaster Aid Uncertain

Claire Hughes, Roundtable Correspondent
Published: 08/29/2006

Katrina Anniversary Finds Faith-Based Groups Still on the Front Lines, Resilient But Fatigued
Anne Farris, Roundtable Washington Correspondent First
Published: 08/29/2006

Religious Leaders Call for Renewed Aid Efforts as Katrina Anniversary Nears
Anne Farris, Roundtable Washington Correspondent First
Published: 08/22/2006

Faith Leaders Quit Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund in Dispute Over Church Grants
Claire Hughes, Roundtable Correspondent
Published: 07/18/2006

New Disaster Report Cites Ways to Improve Use of Faith-Based Groups
Anne Farris, Roundtable Washington Correspondent First
Published: 07/11/2006

Federal Pandemic Flu and Disaster Plans Rely on Faith-Based Service Providers
Anne Farris, Roundtable Washington Correspondent First
Published: 05/09/2006

Faith-Based Groups Recognized as Key to Disaster Relief as Senate Calls for Replacement of FEMA
Anne Farris, Roundtable Washington Correspondent First
Published: 05/02/2006

Federal Katrina Aid Starts Flowing to Faith-Based Groups
Anne Farris, Roundtable Washington Correspondent First
Published: 03/28/2006

Federal Agency to Get Faith-Based Office
Claire Hughes, Roundtable Correspondent
Published: 03/14/2006


Katrina Report Praises Response by Faith-Based Groups

Claire Hughes, Roundtable Correspondent
Published: 02/282006


GAO Reviews Faith-Based Response to Hurricanes

Claire Hughes, Roundtable Correspondent
Published: 12/20/2005

Following the devastating trio of storms that battered the Gulf Coast this year, Americans saw faith- based organizations -- both large and small -- rush to the aid of evacuees and rescue workers. Among them were the countless local churches from Florida to Texas that opened their doors to displaced residents seeking shelter. But the involvement of such groups has raised many issues, including whether faith-based organizations should be reimbursed with public funds for their relief expenses, and to what extent should government depend on such groups when disaster strikes.

Click here to read more by Roundtable correspondent Claire Hughes.

Click here to download the transcript (PDF document)

This report provides a comprehensive review of recent developments in constitutional and statutory law concerning relationships between church and state, with a section -- pages 21-34 -- devoted to legal issues arising from involvement of faith-based groups in federal disaster response.

Click here to download the report (PDF doc)

FEMA Official Clarifies Federal Hurricane Aid to Faith-Based Groups:
Click here for more by Roundtable Correspondents Anne Farris and Claire Hughes.

FEMA to Allow Reimbursement of Faith-Based Groups for Hurricane Aid:
Click here for more on the story by Roundtable Correspondents Bryan Jackson and Anne Farris.

States Partner with Faith-Based and Community Groups in Storm Aftermath:
Click here to read more by Roundtable Correspondent Claire Hughes.

Faith-Based Groups Take Action to Aid Katrina Victims:
Click here to read more by Roundtable Correspondent Bryan Jackson.


Related Roundtable Interviews:

Cheryl Magee and Mary Ambrose of the United Way for Greater New Orleans Faith-Based Initiative
Published: 8/26/08

Rev. Bruce Davenport of St. John #5 Faith Church, New Orleans
Published: 08/29/2007

Keith Rothfus, Director of the Department of Homeland Security Center for
Faith-Based & Community Initiatives

Published: 05/08/2006

Candy Hill of Catholic Charities USA
Published: 02/28/2006

Louisiana Faith-Based Liaison Johnny G. Anderson
Published: 11/29/2005

John Berglund of the Salvation Army
Published: 09/06/2005

Suzie Harvey, parish administrator at the Christus Victor Lutheran Church in
Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Published: 10/04/2005


News and Information from Other Sources:

President Bush noted the work of faith-based organizations when commemorating the anniversary of Katrina with a
speech in Biloxi, Mississippi on Monday
.

Click here to read the White House report: The Federal Response to Hurricane
Katrina--Lessons Learned
.

Click here to read the executive summary of the report "Hurricane Katrina: A Nation Still Unprepared" by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Click here for the Committee's home page on its Katrina-related hearings and reports.

Click here to read remarks by the President during his trip to the Gulf Coast.

News digest: A digest of news and information from other sources related to the involvement of faith-based groups aiding those affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Disaster News Network


Related Web Sites:

Department of Homeland Security-Office of Faith-Based
and Community Initiatives

White House - Hurricane Relief

White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website

Corporation for National and Community Service


Information on state disaster recovery efforts:

Florida: www.flahurricanefund.org

Alabama: http://www.servealabama.gov/

Texas: www.texasresponds.org

Mississippi: www.msema.org/index.htm

Louisiana: www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/


The Salvation Army -Disaster Relief

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America - Disaster Relief

Islamic Relief

World Vision- Disaster Relief

Lutheran Social Services

B'nai B'rith International

Catholic Charities USA

Church World Service

Episcopalian Relief and Development

Habitat for Humanity

Mennonite Disaster Services

Operation Blessing

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Samaritan's Purse International Relief

United Methodist Committee Relief