Communities commit to rebuild stronger after California's worst wildfires
By Sandrina da Cruz - Senior Humanitarian Response Specialist
Photo from MICOP
Though California has already experienced another bout of fires since the 2018 blazes devastated the town of Paradise and areas of Southern California, thank you for not forgetting about the families that are still fighting to regain their livelihoods and rebuild their communities.
Here are some of the ways our partners are continuing to help their neighbors in need as thousands of familiesare still waiting to receive compensation and support for lost homes and damaged property:
Warmth in the cold winter months: It gets cold in areas of Northern California, especially in higher altitudes like Paradise where families are still living in substandard housing. Thanks to your support and the efforts by the Throwing Starfish Foundation team, approximately 200 families have experienced some reprieve from the cold after receiving winter weather kits containing coats, socks, hot hands, and sleeping bags.
Employment for adults with developmental disabilities: California Vocations’ mission is to provide residential and vocational support to developmentally disabled adults. During the Paradise fire, the organization lost most of its client homes and vehicles. The organization has been using insurance payments to purchase residential buildings, but with the rise in real estate prices after the fire, clients have to be spread across a very large area. Thanks to your donation, California Vocations has been able to replace two vehicles, which will provide its clients with reliable and accessible transportation. This will help individuals experience a stable work environment and regain some normalcy as they transition into a new community and environment, as well as improve their long-term health and quality of life.
Mental health services: Many communities in California are suffering from repeat trauma from recurring wildfires, mudslides, and a mass shooting. One GlobalGiving partner, Give an Hour, is creating an Emotional Wellness Collaborative, comprising organizations and agencies that will provide emotional wellness and mental health support to adults and children.
Disaster-preparedness for indigenous communities: With destructive fires becoming increasingly common in California, community preparedness is more important than ever. Indigenous communities are often overlooked during disasters, especially because of language barriers and their remote location. As a result, they are not made aware of safety and evacuation information as fires unfold, nor are they able to reliably access relief services. Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP) is building on its expertise and experience serving these communities during previous wildfires and proactively developing its organizational readiness to support indigenous communities. Specifically, MICOP is supporting indigenous immigrants and farmworkers in rural areas of Southern California through language appropriate advocacy and preparedness campaigns.
It’s incredibly challenging to know that while rebuilding initiatives are ongoing, more fires will likely affect these areas again. Thank you for your commitment to strengthening disaster readiness and community preparedness. We will continue to keep you updated about our partner’s outstanding efforts and your role in building stronger communities.
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