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Disaster Response

Office for Social Concerns
Catholic Diocese of Columbus

Disaster Response

The Office for Social Concerns has developed a network to be Christ's presence when natural or human-made disasters occur within the 23 counties of the diocese and to help provide what disaster agencies call unmet needs.  The office also coordinates response efforts for disasters outside of the diocese at the state, national, and international levels.

Disaster Response Updates 

Current Disaster Responses

Response for Oklahoma Tornados.

In response to the devastation caused by tornados in central Oklahoma the past few days, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City is helping those affected. Services include emergency assistance funds for food, shelter, clothing and other necessities; financial assistance vouchers; networking with other agencies serving those affected; and counseling services. In an effort to help with the long-term recovery process, Catholic Charities OKC has set-up a disaster relief fund. All donations made to this fund will support recovery for victims -- no donations will be diverted for other purposes or administrative costs.
To donate to the fund, visit,call 405-523-3000, or mail donations (with “tornado recovery” in the memo line) to our Diocesan Finance Office (198 East Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215) or directly to Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, 1501 N. Classen Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73106.

For more information, go to the Oklahoma City diocesan website or contact the Office for Social Concerns at 614-241-2540 or

Hurricane Sandy

Bishop Frederick F. Campbell asks the people of the Diocese of Columbus to pray for all of those affected by the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy and to help support the recovery effort. All monies collected at parishes will be sent by the Diocese of Columbus to Catholic Charities USA, the arm of the Catholic Church in the United States which coordinates domestic disaster relief efforts. Catholic Charities USA is currently assessing long term recovery needs and providing immediate relief in partnership with other disaster organizations and governmental entities along the eastern seaboard.

Bishop Campbell said: “Our prayers and our deepest concern go out to the victims of Hurricane Sandy, and we are committed to providing help for the ongoing process of recovery.”

Contributions may also be mailed directly to the Catholic Diocese of Columbus, Finance Office, 198 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215. Please be sure that you include “Hurricane Sandy Relief” on the memo line of your check.

Press Release from Catholic Charities USA:
Catholic Charities Stands Ready to Address Immediate Community Needs Left by Hurricane Sandy 

Disaster in Joplin Mo.

With the best of intentions, people of faith are responding to the numerous disasters that have hit our nation recently. Currently, a second disaster threatens to overtake Joplin Mo, (and other recovering areas) by way of a tidal wave of unsolicited goods (things life clothing, miscellaneous household items, mixed or perishable foodstuffs, diapers...) and volunteers who just show up to help. Critical resources are being redirected from the important work of response and relief to managing what has become a crush of unneeded donated items. Churches and social networking sites are promoting collection drives to fill semis with items that threaten to crowd warehouses and overwhelm distribution channels in the impacted areas.

Our help is urgently needed to stem the flow of unneeded goods and volunteers into disaster recovery areas like Joplin. Please encourage your families and friends to reach out in a way that doesn't cause further impact, but rather aids in the response and recovery efforts.

Cash to a recognized voluntary agency (like Catholic Charities USA) is the single best way to help disaster survivors. Cash doesn't need to be sorted or stored. Cash allows the recovery agencies to put the donations toward the needs that most urgently must be addressed.

Please consider giving a cash donation to Catholic Charities USA in support of the many recovery efforts they already are supporting throughout the country. Donations can be made through your parish or sent to the diocesan Finance Office at 198 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215. If you wish to direct your donation to a specific area, please write that in the memo line. For more information, contact thte diocesan Office for Social Concerns at 614-241-2540 or


Tropical Storm Isaac

Catholic Relief Services Responds to Tropical Storm Isaac
Tropical Storm Isaac struck Haiti during the early morning hours of Saturday, August 25, 2012 dropping significant amounts of rain throughout the country and bringing winds of up to 50-60 miles per hour. Preliminary reports indicate damage to infrastructure, property and crops is low to moderate. CRS is working with the Government of Haiti, our counterparts in the country and local partners to determine the scope of the storm’s damage to tailor a response. CRS is in touch with partners involved in cholera treatment centers to ensure they are in optimal condition to treat patients. The disease can be worsened by heavy rains and flooding.
Because of its geography and deforested lands, Haiti is especially vulnerable to the affects of tropical storms and hurricanes and is still in a fragile state of recovery after the massive earthquake that leveled the capital city, Port au Prince, 2.5 years ago. CRS Haiti has built a strong emergency preparation and management system that allows the agency to move quickly to deliver help, supplies and aid to people in need. CRS has warehouses, trucks and personnel positioned around the country as part of its response network.
CRS has worked diligently to help people to prepare for the storms that plague Haiti. To date, we have built 10,600 temporary shelters designed to withstand wind and rain and helped more than 20,000 people move from the camps into their communities.
Dominican Republic and Cuba
Tropical storm-force winds extended nearly 205 miles from the center, giving Isaac a broad sweep as it passed over the Dominican Republic and Cuba on Saturday, yet the impact was far less severe than anticipated. CRS is poised to help our Church partners in both countries if requested.
To read more regarding our response to this pressing emergency, visit Also, see us on Facebook. (
Subscribe to the CRS Newswire for the most up-to-date information.
How you can help:
• Please pray for the people of Haiti and others affected by this storm. We have included a prayer and petitions to share within your parishes.
• Donate online: or call 877-Help-CRS (877-435-7277). Mail donations to: Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21203-7090.
Thank you for all you are doing! Please share this Special Report with others.
Prayer and Intercessions: Tropical Storm Isaac Prayer
God of creation,
We lift up in prayer our sisters and brothers living with the challenges and uncertainty brought on by this
hurricane season.
Lord, as you walk with each of us help us to remember that we carry your love, your care and your
compassion, even in the midst of the violent storms that impact our lives.
In a special way, sustain the people trying to restore their livelihoods and rebuild their homes and
communities after surviving multiple natural disasters.
Continue to protect the workers who offer support and hope to those who are in need in Haiti and
elsewhere. Bless the generous donors who continue to respond to the poorest of the poor around the
Lord, continue to build within us, your children, the ability to love and care for our brothers and sisters as
you care for us.
We ask this through your son Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God
forever and ever.
Response: Lord, hear our prayer
For our sisters and brothers in Haiti and others who have suffered as a result of Tropical Storm
Isaac, we pray to the Lord
Response: Lord, hear our prayer
For our leaders that they respond with compassion to the needs of the people impacted by this
recent storm, we pray to the Lord
Response: Lord, hear our prayer
For relief workers and first responders, protect them and sustain them as they respond to the
aftermath of this storm, we pray to the Lord
Response: Lord, hear our prayer
For those of us gathered here, that we continue to respond to the needs of our sisters and
brothers without hesitation, we pray to the Lord
Response: Lord, hear our prayer

Catholic Charities USA and Its Local Gulf Coast Agencies Move to Full Assessment and Service Delivery in Aftermath of Isaac
Rev. Larry Snyder, President of CCUSA said, "Catholic Charities has an incredible network of service providers across the country that provide resources and support to people living in the margins every day. They are trusted in their communities and understand the needs of their populations, putting them in a position to quickly assess and provide resources – an asset that is invaluable during times of disaster response."

Since Hurricane Katrina, Catholic Charities USA and its network of agencies across the country has helped thousands of families recover from disasters, first as an early responder to the immediate needs and later helping people rebuild their lives. Relief and recovery services are provided at the local level by Catholic Charities agencies that provide critical services including emergency food, shelter, direct financial assistance, counseling, and support. These services are provided regardless of race, creed, or socio-economic status.

For additional information and how you can help, please visit or follow us on Twitter at @CCUSADisaster. An online donation web site is
About Catholic Charities USA: Catholic Charities USA is the national office for Catholic Charities agencies nationwide. Catholic Charities USA's members provide help and create hope for more than 10 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. Catholic Charities agencies have worked to reduce poverty by providing a myriad of vital services in their communities, ranging from health care and job training to food and housing.

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), among the nation's largest disaster response organizations, reports that it has begun a major assessment of the impact and needs created by Tropical Storm Isaac and is providing immediate services in partnership with other disaster organizations and state and local governments.

Crisis in East Africa

The East African drought of 2011 that is hitting Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia so hard is proving to be one of the worst in 50 years.  Extreme hunger is rapidly becoming a harsh daily reality for more than 11 million people in East Africa because of what many are calling the worst drought in decades.  This severe lack of rainfall has resulted in failed crops and critical shortages in food and water.  Further compounding this natural disaster are drastic increases in food prices and an influx of refugees from Somalia who have fled to seek food.  To help,
click here.

Flood and Tornado Relief in the United States

Many communities have suffered from severe flooding and violent tornados throughout the United States.  Catholic Charities USA is providing relief.  If you would like to help, please visit the Catholic Charities USA website for more information,
click here.  Donations to Catholic Charities USA can be made through your parish or sent to the diocesan Finance Office at 198 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH  43215.  If you wish to direct your donation to a specific area, please write that location in the memo line.  For more information, contact the diocesan Office for Social Concerns at 614-241-2540 or

Japan Relief

Because of the massive earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor damage that occurred in Japan, there is tremendous suffering by countless people there.  In May, the diocese sent an initial donation of nearly $245,000 to Catholic Relief Services to help respond to the enormous needs presented by these tragedies.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is working with Caritas International and others to find pathways to bring aid to the many thousands stricken by the earthquake and tsunami that devastated northern Japan. 
Caritas Japan will focus on the long-term recovery as the immediate relief work is being managed by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.  In a statement, Caritas Japan noted that the damage is not only physical but also psychological. “We will accompany people who lost their beloved, who lost everything and may stay at temporary shelter, and who have no one to rely on,” the statement said.

The president of Caritas Japan, Bishop Isao Kikuchi SVD says, "We have received so many e-mails from all continents filled with words of compassion and prayer.  We are very grateful for this solidarity.  We believe that aid activity is needed, but prayer is also important in such a situation."

Caritas Japan has indicated that for now it will not be involved in immediate relief work, a huge operation run by the Japanese Army, but will focus on long-term recovery.  In a statement, Caritas Japan noted that the damage is not only physical but also psychological.  "We will accompany people who lost their beloved, who lost everything and may stay at temporary shelter, and who have not one to rely on," the statement said.
For more information relief efforts in Japan, please contact CRS Diocesan Director Erin Cordle at 614-241-2540 or email

For CRS Japan webpage,
click here.

Response to Devastating Earthquake in Haiti

Diocesan Collection Update

Disaster Response Links

As of May, 2011, the Catholic Diocese of Columbus has collected over $624,647.00 to assist in the recovery in Haiti.  Thank you for your continued generosity.  
Also, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of supporters across the United States, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) can ensure that help reaches those who need it most. As part of a plan that will span 5 years and beyond, CRS will spend more than $200 million to help the people of Haiti recover from their catastrophic loss. CRS has received $165 million for Haiti relief and rebuilding. Of this, $127 million came from private donors, including some $50 million received from special collections for Haiti in Catholic dioceses across the United States. An additional $33 million will be used for reconstruction of Church structures in Haiti.
In the Easter Spirit of rebirth and renewal, CRS is focusing on new initiatives that aim to support and strengthen the Church in Haiti as it rebuilds its spiritual and social services infrastructure. With much of the immediate disaster response coming to a close CRS, the USCCB Church in Latin America, and many others are focused on recovery working with local leaders in Haiti and the US to create and strengthen systems and infrastructure in Haiti that foster coordination, collaboration, and local ownership. There are several exciting new initiatives to strengthen the infrastructure of the Church in Haiti, US/Haiti Parish Partnership (twinning) opportunities, and the Catholic Hospital system.
Rebuilding Church Property in Haiti
PROCHE – the Haitian Bishop’s organization to rebuild Church property in Haiti is officially up and running. PROCHE is an organized movement for change in the way projects are developed and executed in Haiti. Father Andrew Small, OMI, USCCB Church in Latin America, reports, “From the beginning, all those committed to Haiti’s long term recovery after the earthquake agreed that we can’t do business as usual. We’ve spent a lot of time consulting with key partners, discussing, and planning together, so as to identify weaknesses in the current way of working with and in Haiti and to build local capacity so that Haitians can be the protagonists in their own recovery.” 
Getting coordination among the Church in Haiti is itself starting to pay off. The supervising structure for PROCHE held its first annual board meeting in March. (The seven member panel includes the Haitian bishops Conference as well as the Conference for Religious; also, Church donors from the U.S., France, and Canada are part of the group.) Since then, other groups planning to build Church infrastructure in Haiti (chapels, schools, clinics, and convents) have asked to be part of PROCHE. Solid foundations are in place so that the work of rebuilding offers fresh hope for a new future for Haiti.
New Grants Opportunity for US/Haiti Partnerships
Since the January 2010 earthquake, CRS has continued to receive numerous requests for assistance from U.S. Church entities that have relationships in Haiti. These requests have come from all levels: parishes, dioceses, religious institutes, and Catholic Church-affiliated non-profit organizations, and from every region in Haiti. Haiti is somewhat unique among the countries in which CRS works in that there are a disproportionately large number of US Catholic Church entities that have relationships (such as parish twinning) with groups in Haiti. Most of the partnerships are with Haitian Catholic Church entities.
The matching grants program will create an avenue for funding projects sponsored by Church-based solidarity partnerships that are focused on sustainable development and in-line with CRS best practices. It will also support the strengthening of “right relationships” between the two partners by encouraging mutuality in the partnership and Haitian leadership in the project. The grants will target sustainable livelihood development and capacity-building projects that meet CRS standards. The CRS portion of the grant will be limited to $10,000 and will be given to the Haitian partner.
More information about the grants can be found at: Proposals are due July 30, 2011 and funds will be disbursed by September 15, 2011.
Catholic Healthcare Campaign for Rebirth and Renewal
U.S. Catholic health care organizations have joined with CRS in an ambitious effort to rebuild a Catholic hospital for the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and to strengthen Catholic health care throughout the island nation. For more information about this Healthcare strengthening initiative please visit the Catholic Health Association at  
For more information about Haiti recovery efforts, go to or contact the CRS diocesan director at 614-241-2540 or
God of all creation, as we weep with our family in Haiti, console us.
In this time of crisis, open our eyes to look beyond the disaster
to see Christ in our brothers and sisters in Haiti, as Christ sees us.
Be with us as we stand in solidarity with those living and working in Haiti.
Be with us in our mourning and guide our efforts to feed the hungry,
shelter the homeless, comfort the grieving and stand for justice.
With your mercy, sustain us at this time as we continue to work for peace and justice. Amen.
How to Help:
Donate via phone:   1-877-HELP-CRS

Donate online: 
Write a check:           Catholic Diocese of Columbus
                                198 East Broad Street
                                Columbus, Ohio 43215 
                                 Memo portion of check:  CRS Haiti Earthquake


Disaster Response Links


Office for Social Concerns, Catholic Diocese of Columbus  For the latest information about disaster relief efforts at the local, state, national, and international levels, call (614) 241-2540 or email


Ohio Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster (OH-VOAD)

Ohio Community Service Council


Catholic Charities USA  The Disaster Response Office of Catholic Charities USA coordinates the Catholic Church's response to disasters in the United States and grants relief funds to local Catholic Charities agencies.  Catholic Charities agencies provide critical services including emergency food, shelter, direct financial assistance, counseling, and recovery support.  For a direct link to their Disaster Response webpage, click here.


Catholic Relief Services  CRS is the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  CRS responds to both natural disasters and complex emergencies around the world.  For a direct link to their Emergency Response webpage, click here.

Additional Preparedness and Response Links

Ready: Prepare, Plan, Stay Informed (Federal website)

Ready Kids

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

FEMA's Complete "Are You Ready" guide, 204 pages

Recover & Rebuild Information (FEMA)
 - What to do after a disaster.
 - Immediately after a disaster:  What to do during the first 48 hours.
 - Taking care of those in need.
 - My home/property was damaged or destroyed.

Volunteer Opportunities

Ohio Community Service Council


2015 BAA Landing Page

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus 197 E. Gay Street Columbus, OH 43215

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