As we arrive at a home in Detroit to do a damage assessment, people begin to emerge from nearby homes. They see the name on our truck- NECHAMA Jewish Response to Disaster. This is the first disaster response vehicle they have seen on their street since the flooding happened nearly one month ago. They approach the driver to find out what we do and if we can help them.
What starts out as a single home assessment quickly grows to an assessment of homes on the entire block. Many homes were flooded with stormwater, and as a result of system failures, they also had sewage backup into their basements. Now mold is in the process of covering surfaces that are still damp. Furniture is three times its normal weight due to the water still trapped in the cushions. Appliances damaged by the water are no longer working; they wait for someone to carry them up steps and to the curb.
The flooding that happened in Detroit did not get a spotlight on the national news. If you ask your friends or family today if they know about a recent flood in Detroit, they will likely say no. This type of disaster event is what is referred to as a “Low Attention Disaster.” Low attention disaster does not mean there was minimal damage. It does not mean that families were not greatly impacted. Low attention disaster refers to the amount of news coverage that a disaster receives, which consequently affects the level of response and resources generated to aid families impacted by the disaster.
As a result of the large number of disasters occurring around the country today, not every disaster receives national news attention. Disasters that reach national news will likely receive short-lived attention, while the next disaster follows close behind. People who do not live in the surrounding area may hear very little about the flooding that occurred in Detroit. They likely are not aware that 20 days later, the flood event was declared a major disaster by FEMA. Or that the number of responding organizations is small, with many struggling to find volunteers.
This is where you can help! You can help make an impact on a greater number of families in Detroit. Please consider either volunteering or funding our efforts. We want to renew our commitment to the families in Detroit, past July 31. We can only do this if we have your support!