In April 27, 2011, more than 60 confirmed tornadoes tore through Alabama reaching a death toll of 254. More than 16,345 homeowners filed for FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) assistance.
While the catastrophic twister was still moving across the state, United Way of Central Alabama moved its 2-1-1 Information and Referral call center operations to a larger space and set up more than 30 new computer/phone stations to take calls. Just hours later, staff and volunteers were ready to provide a caring voice and vital information to those affected.
Hands On Birmingham, the volunteer arm of United Way of Central Alabama organized more than 8,000 volunteers to help in early disaster recovery projects such as debris removal. Other disaster relief volunteers worked in shelters and distribution centers.
United Way convened more than 50 corporate, faith-based, government and other non-profits to plan for the long-term needs of survivors. The Central Alabama Long Term Recovery Committee (CALTRC) was established to:
- Provide coordinated case management of the long-term recovery.
- Provide assistance to those without adequate resources.
United Way raised money separate from its regular campaign to help with long-term recovery needs of survivors. United Way raised more $1.3 million in 24-hour telethon and in the next eight months saw donations to the relief and recovery effort grow to $4.1 million.
In the years since the deadly tornado outbreak five years ago, several communities around Central Alabama have experienced destructive weather events and catastrophes and the knowledge gained from the April 27 experience helped provide better disaster assistance.
United Way is there to help the community when catastrophe strikes. Whether its services for food and shelter after a tornado or flood, we’re there to help provide life-saving relief services for those in need.