Many good-hearted Wisconsinites want to help our neighbors to the south in communities that were devastated by multiple tornadoes and severe storms, but emergency officials are urging against those who want to “self-deploy” to Illinois.
“Having a lot of folks sort of descend on the area is actually counter productive. It makes things much more complicated; it’s hard to track who’s doing what; how to verify that the people have legitimate skills that can be used for the clean up and the recovery.”
Wisconsin Emergency Management’s Tod Pritchard says despite everyone’s best intentions, the arrival of unexpected volunteers interferes with the response efforts. It’s what’s called ‘the second disaster.’
“The ‘second disaster’ is actually when people start loading up truckloads of stuff to send down to a disaster area and you’ve got to find places for those unsolicited goods to be warehoused, distributed, transported. And it really becomes a situation where a lot of those items just may not be needed.”
Wisconsin emergency personnel spoke to their counterparts in Illinois, who ask that those who want to help don’t go to the scene of a disaster and don’t send donations of food, clothing and other items. Instead, officials say financial gifts are the best way to help the victims of Sunday’s tornadoes. Reputable organizations such as the American Red Cross and Salvation Army are good places to start. Those groups are well equipped to make the best use of the money for the most immediate needs.
Wisconsin was fortunate to have little damage, relatively speaking, but communities in Illinois suffered massive property damage, six deaths, and dozens of injuries from the tornado outbreak on Sunday 17th.