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Oklahoma tornadoes: Phase 2 is long-term recovery

by Richard Mize Modified: October 19, 2013 at 10:00 pm •  Published: October 19, 2013

The tornadoes were just the first disaster. The second one came after public attention drifted.

“Eight weeks after the storm, volunteers began to go home, or go on to the next disaster,” Norman said, and that's usually what happens as life goes on around a disaster area. But here's something you don't know unless you're involved: He said they left behind 3,371 work orders underway or incomplete — and some $84 million in unmet needs.

And the immediate response was just the first response. The second one is settling in for the long haul, he said, challenging churches to step up: “When the church does not do its part, most of these families do not recover. They're forgotten because life is busy and we move on.”

Partnerships with VOAD and its volunteer construction management programs help communities with long-term recovery. It takes local churches and church groups with ecumenical relationships and state and local governments to keep recovery ongoing, Norman said.

“All disasters begin in a local community and all disasters end in a local community,” he said, noting that VOAD takes a helping role, not a leading role. It's not unusual for VOAD to be working with families, and a community, three or four years or longer after a disaster — and Oklahoma has a few major disasters every year.

For more information on VOAD and its local, state and national partners, go to or

For churches' obligations in times of disaster, go to Luke 10:27.

by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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