Many of you have contacted my office over the past few days as the tragedy in the Gulf Region continues to unfold. My deepest condolences go out to those who lost their homes, their livelihoods, and their loved ones.
This tragedy requires a strong national response. Congress reconvened today and passed a $10.5 billion disaster relief bill to provide emergency assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. While this is a significant first step, I agree that much more must be done. We must continue to do all we can to ensure our fellow Americans are able to rebuild their lives and their communities.
Many of you have contacted my office to ask how you can help. You will find that information below. Also included is assistance information for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. I ask that you share this information with your family and friends.
Businesses and Contractors Offering Services:
The Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC) serves as the nation's nerve center for information sharing and domestic incident management. At the request of the HSOC - the National Emergency Resource Registry (NERR) has been activated. THE NERR- stands ready to assist the coordination efforts between the resources that are needed and the resources that may be available. If you or your organization / agency / corporation have resources that may be made available to the response agencies, please list them in the Resource Registry.
* Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, www.seern.gov
* Louisiana, www.swern.gov
The Florida Medical Volunteer Registry is accepting applications for licensed medical personnel to work in the areas affected by hurricane Katrina in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. Volunteers can register at http://disasterhelp.net/medical/.
Personnel can also check the American College of Emergency Physicians website at
http://www.acep.org/webportal/MemberCenter/AboutACEP/katrina.htm to learn of needs around the country, as they are announced.
Specific state information, as available at the time of this publication, follows:
* Louisiana, Louisiana State Medical Society: http://www.lsms.org/
* Mississippi, Doctors call: 601-987-3079; EMTs call: 601-576-8085; Nurses call: 601-497-8022
* Texas, Texas Medical Association: http://www.texmed.org/Template.aspx?id=4292
* American Red Cross 1-800-435-7669 English, 1-800-257-7575 Spanish
* Operation Blessing 1-800-436-6348
* America's Second Harvest 1-800-344-8070
* Adventist Community Services 1-800-381-7171
* Catholic Charities, USA 703 549-1390
* Christian Disaster Response 941-956-5183 or 941-551-9554
* Christian Reformed World Relief Committee 1-800-848-5818
* Church World Service 1-800-297-1516
* Convoy of Hope 417-823-8998
* Lutheran Disaster Response 1-800-638-3522
* Mennonite Disaster Service 717-859-2210
* Nazarene Disaster Response 888-256-5886
* Presbyterian Disaster Assistance 1-800-872-3283
* Salvation Army 1-800-725-2769
* Southern Baptist Convention -- Disaster Relief 1-800-462-8657, ext. 6440
* United Methodist Committee on Relief 1-800-554-8583
**For further information: please visit the website for the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) at: http://www.nvoad.org/
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
If you have been affected by Hurricane Katrina, you may be eligible for federal assistance from FEMA, the agency responsible for leading federal response and recover efforts. FEMA can also provide disaster housing assistance to those whose homes were damaged or destroyed.
You will need to register with FEMA for assistance. Call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) to register. The speech or hearing impaired may call (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. You may also register online at: www.fema.gov/register.shtm. FEMA has indicated that it will be operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until all have had a chance to register.
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross and other volunteer agencies can provide assistance with food, water, and clothing. It also maintains a database for helping you find your family. You can call the following numbers to find out more information 1-800-HELP NOW (435-7669) English; 1-800-257-7575 Spanish.
**Relatives and loved ones who are struggling to cope with the devastation of the disaster and loss of life can also contact their local American Red Cross to speak with a Disaster Mental Health volunteer.
If you have lost your job or can't work because of the hurricane, you may be able to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), which provides weekly benefits to individuals who are unemployed or not eligible for regular unemployment insurance compensation. You can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
The American Bar Association (ABA) is working with FEMA to provide legal assistance to those affected by the hurricane. A complete listing of the FEMA hotline for legal assistance will be provided by ABA on its website at http://www.abanet.org/katrina/#res.
Those in need of refilling prescription drugs should contact the American Red Cross at 1(866) 438-4636. Veterans can also call the Veteran Affairs Office in Washington, DC at (202) 273-5400 to get information on fulfilling prescriptions.
In addition, many pharmacies have nationwide service and are assisting individuals who have filled prescriptions with them in the past. Walgreens, for example, has this service and individuals who have used the store to fill prescriptions can walk into any Walgreens nationwide and ask a pharmacist to access their prescription records and get their emergencies solved. Express Scripts is assisting its patients through the toll-free number at 1 (800) 993-5060. Medco asks that patients call the number on the back of their Medco identification cards. RiteAid is assisting those with prescription needs and is accepting American Red Cross vouchers in many areas.
Please call the American Red Cross at 1(866) 438-4636. In Mississippi, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or use this form www.mema.ms.gov/missing.person.form.gov. The New Orleans Times-Picayune is maintaining a missing person's database at http://www.nola.com/forums/searching/.
Insurance Company Contact Information
The following is a list of the major insurance companies. You can also check http://www.iii.org/ and http://www.disasterinformation.org/.
* AIG: (800) 242-2418
* Allstate: (800) 547-8676
* Chubb Group of Insurance Companies: (800) 252-4670
* CAN: Personal Insurance Policyholders: (800) 588-7400; Commercial Insurance Policyholders: (877) 262-2727
* Fireman's Fund: (888) 347-3428
* Hanover Insurance: (800) 628-0250
* The Hartford: (800) 243-5860
* Metlife Auto & Home: (800) 854-6011
* SAFECO: (888) 723-3265
* Selective Insurance: (800) 777-9656 ext. 2801; fax: (973) 948-1103
* State Farm: (800) 732-5246
Travelers Property/Casualty: Personal Insurance Policyholders: (800) 252-4633; Commercial Insurance Policyholder: 800-238-6225
* USAA: (800) 531-8222
General Assistance Numbers For Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama
* Louisiana Governor Blanco's hotline: 800-469-4828
* Louisiana Evacuation Office: 225-925-7514
* Louisiana State Police: 225-925-7708 or 7709
* Special Needs Shelter Information Triage Phone Numbers:
Baton Rouge: 800-349-1372
Lake Charles: 866-280-2711
* Mississippi Emergency Management Agency: http://www.mema.ms.gov/
* MDOT traffic hotline: 601-352-7017
* Alabama Emergency Management Agency: 205-280-2200
* Alabama Department of Transportation Emergency Road Closure Information and Evacuation Updates: 1-888-588-2848 or 1-334-353-6650 http://www.dot.state.al.us/docs
* Attorney General, 1-800-392-5658
* To report price gouging contact the Consumer Affairs Office: http://www.ago.state.al.us/
I just did cut-and-paste, so his fancy header and signature didn't get included, alas.