The catastrophic affects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are being felt globally. The response of the religious community is imperative to the recovery of peoples lives and spirit. The work of the religious community to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita will extend over a very long period time. The Louisiana Interchurch Conference has a long history of leadership and coordination in long-term disaster recoveries including Hurricane Andrew. Informed by experience and the disaster research community we know that the individuals and communities impacted by the hurricane will need 4 things if they are to recovery successfully from this disaster. The religious community is uniquely positioned to provide for these needs.
- Appropriate and timely material resources – the LIC is working to develop cooperative systems with the religious community to provide appropriate and timely material resources and work teams.
- Social support – the LIC is working with the religious communities in Louisiana and around the country to help build social support for the survivors and restore a sense of community.
- Survivors and caregivers need to find a sense of meaning and purpose out of this disaster experience. This is primarily a spiritual and theological issue – the LIC will help enable the religious communities to address this central issue in disaster recovery by providing support, resources and training.
- Helping communities and families take back a sense of control over their lives – the LIC will help train caregivers and work teams so they can help people establish a growing sense of control over their circumstances.
The LIC is involved in a number of ways. These include:
- Communicating with and bringing together the religious community for the short and long-term recovery
- Helping coordinate the efforts of the religious community’s response
- Establishing a communication network between the denominations and faith groups
- Act as a forum for the development of cooperative ministries and advocacy programs.
- Work to establish a long-term care system for those who have been displaced by the hurricane
- Monitor the recovery process for uneven response and human rights violations.
- Help develop and support local recovery groups
- Monitor the quality of Pastoral Care extended through shelters and recovery systems
- Help train caregivers in spiritual and emotional care.
- Help provide care for caregivers.
- As an advocate for the marginalized and those whose voice has been lost.