March 13, 2012

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Southern Indiana disaster aid:
“We’re in it for the long haul”

Disaster in Henryville, IN 
This school bus was parked unoccupied on school grounds and hurled across a street and into a restaurant. Patrons of the restaurant had been alerted to the approaching storm and sought shelter in the basement. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Keith Robinson)

Disaster assistance efforts in tornado-ravaged communities of southern Indiana are now in their second week, and Purdue Extension has been helping from the start.

Steve Cain, BS ’76, a disaster education specialist in Purdue’s Department of Agricultural Communication and president of the Indiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, has been in the area since the day after the March 2 tornadoes destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes, killing 13 people. He and other Extension staff have been helping to organize volunteers and manage donations in a support role to state and local emergency managers. During the past weekend alone, VOAD organized more than 2,600 volunteers over two days.

In a report on disaster aid response efforts in seven states hit by tornadoes during the first week of March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture praised Purdue Extension’s community organization leadership and coordination with faith-based and other volunteer organizations in southern Indiana.

In this video report from Henryville, Cain explains Purdue Extension’s role in ongoing recovery efforts. Assistance from Purdue Extension likely will continue for several months.

“We’re it in for the long haul,” he says.

To make a donation through VOAD, click here.

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