—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (September 19, 2009) – The ICNA Relief Baton Rouge office humbly announces major accomplishment in regards to relief efforts and this is just the beginning. Alhumdulillah. Every evacuee family, formerly housed in the Islamic Center of Baton Rouge, has been placed into an apartment and all basic needs have been met. ICNA Relief has guaranteed up to 6-months rent and utilities for each family and will continue supportive assistance as needed until all families have been permanently resettled, with the help of Allah (SWT) and our faithful donors.
Though the most immediate need has been satisfied (food, clothes, medicine and shelter) for our brothers and sisters who have been displaced due to Hurricane Katrina, our work at ICNA Relief has just begun. Now, we look from our present position into the future. Sustaining the safety and well-being of an many Katrina affectees and helping to slowly transition back into their previous lives, begins the next phase of our work. InshaAllah, we will enter the New Orleans area as soon as it is allowed and hopefully as soon as this upcoming Friday. We have reached a mutual understanding with leaders of Masjid Abu Bakr, in Kenner, LA and Masjid Al Tawba, in Gretna, LA and look forward to continuing relief efforts there.
ICNA Relief is thankful to Allah (SWT) for His blessings, the contributions of faithful Muslims, the support and assistance of the Islamic Center of Baton Rouge and their leaders, all other local masajid, and all of the volunteers who have diligently worked to make this possible.
ICNA Relief Provides 3 Hot Meals Daily to Shelters
With the voluntary services of Imam Abed Mubarak (owner of Atcha Bakery), ICNA Relief served as the main contributor to the Islamic Center of Baton Rouge by providing three hot meals daily. Evacuees from three masajid were well fed. They received nutritionally sound, tasty and halal food, at no charge.
ICNA Relief Sets Precedent as First Relief Agency to Provide Free Housing to Over 50 New Orleans Evacuated Families for up to 6 Months
Understanding the unbearable conditions that evacuees are faced with in overcrowded shelters, ICNA Relief has set the precedent as the first relief agency to provide private housing. Over 50 Muslim families and two non-Muslim families seeking assistance were accommodated. This has earned the “Muslims for Humanity” much admiration from other relief organizations and the FEMA VOLAG (Voluntary Agencies) group.
ICNA Relief Assists Hurricane Katrina Evacuees in Paperwork Processes and Job Placement
Alhumdulillah, ICNA Relief has facilitated the efforts of evacuees to complete documents and processes to file for homeowner’s insurance, automobile insurance, FEMA application, food stamps, disaster related unemployment compensation, and Medicaid, as well as enrolling children in Islamic and public schools and the free-lunch program. ICNA Relief has conducted several workshops at the Islamic Center of Baton Rouge to teach others how to assist in this process as well. ICNA Relief has provided and continues to provide job placement assistance, with connections to contractors who are hiring for FEMA, as well as local independent employers.
ICNA Relief Connects with FEMA and Other Non-Profit Agencies in Disaster Relief Efforts
ICNA Relief has met all requirements and now has an office inside the FEMA Control Center in Baton Rouge, LA. As a member of the VOLAG (Voluntary Agencies) group, ICNA Relief receives up to the minute information on the efforts of FEMA, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, the National Food Bank, and many other relief organizations. ICNA Relief is working side-by-side with these organizations to enhance our disaster relief efforts and further the recognition of Islam and Muslims in North America. ICNA Relief has earned the respect of this group and the FEMA Chief responsible for this group, due to being the first and foremost organization to transition evacuees from shelters into permanent/semi-permanent housing, and due to efficiencies in problem solving.
ICNA Relief Facilitates Medical Assistance in Mosque-Shelters
ICNA Relief was actively involved in providing medical assistance to the Hurricane Katrina evacuees, staying in the mosques in the Baton Rouge area. Upon the initial arrival of evacuees, Dr. Saeed Ahmad, MD (Member ICNA Relief Advisory Board) answered the call, came, and continues to come to serve the medical needs of our brothers and sisters, their parents, and their children. We’ve donated medical supplies and medicines are being dispensed as needed. Prescriptions are being written and filled for those who need them. FEMA funded medical assistance has been used when necessary, for the most critical cases.
ICNA Relief Reunites Evacuees with Families All Across the United States
ICNA Relief has provided Greyhound bus tickets and airline tickets to over 60 individual evacuees and families who wished to relocate or reunite with relatives in other states. This has given people an opportunity to start a new life and continue their lives with the support of their family. Many were driven as far as Lake Charles, Louisiana by ICNA volunteers.
ICNA Relief Announces a Plan to Start Relief Efforts in New Orleans
ICNA Relief is in the process of establishing offices within two of the largest Islamic Centers in New Orleans area, which by the grace of Allah (SWT) have been spared major damage from Hurricane Katrina. These masajid are Masjid Abu Bakr, in Kenner, LA and Masjid Al Tawba, in Gretna, LA. Relief efforts from these locations will include reaching out to 40 families within the immediate neighborhoods of these Islamic Centers, irrespective of faith or creed. All members of both masajid and each member’s four nearest neighbors will also receive supplies, needed to resettle in the disaster area.
May Allah (SWT) bless those who strive for His sake with patience and perseverance.
Request to Community
We have been asked by Jeremiah Dameron of New York’s Office of Emergency Management: “Please help us spread the message to local community groups, houses of worship and organizations that we should not be collecting “stuff” for the victims. Doing so will only create a second disaster. However, most organizations are in need of monetary donations to help rebuild the local communities.”
ICNA Relief urges Muslims to earmark donations for the victims of the flood. Just as the community was generous to the victims of the Asian tsunami, let us not forget these our fellow Americans in their time of need. Please be generous. To donate, visit www.reliefonline.org or call Br. Adem at ICNA Relief’s New York Office: 718 658 7028 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
With the help of Islamic Center of Baton Rouge, ICNA Relief is providing shelter, food and drinking water to many displaced families. We are also very happy to hear that some families have space to stay in the masajid and with area families. However, in the coming days we may need other volunteers.
Our close colleague Ken Curtin of the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) has commended ICNA Relief USA for our offer to provide volunteers, and on his advice we are collecting names of volunteers with specific skills and tools in the region, as well as doctors and counselors. If you wish to offer please contact Br. Farrukh Raza, ICNA Relief’s National Coordinator for Katrina Victims Relief Efforts at email@example.com.
The Islamic Circle of North America is a leading American Muslim organization dedicated to the betterment of society through the application of Islamic values. Since 1968, ICNA has worked to build relations between communities by devoting itself to education, outreach, social services and relief efforts.
Islamic Circle of North America
Office: (718) 658-1199