By Staff Writer
Birmingham, Alabama (May 6, 2011) – In the aftermath of the worst tornadoes to hit the United States since the Great Depression, hundreds of Southerners are dead and thousands of their homeless neighbors are left gaping at the rubble. American Muslim organization ICNA Relief is on the ground, offering a helping hand to victims as they begin to piece their lives back together after the devastating storms.
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“Trees are uprooted, streets are strewn with cars and steel—and everything within sight is leveled or upside down. I have never seen devastation like this; it is absolutely heartbreaking,” says Muhammad Hassan, Director of Outreach for ICNA Relief, describing the scene in Alabama. “They said you have to see it to believe it and I said no—even when you see it you cannot believe it.”
The devastation from the storms is indeed incredible—over 300 people are reported dead, many still missing a week after the tornadoes struck and thousands without homes or access to basic necessities. Weather conditions remain bleak in some areas, stalling relief efforts for survivors who are badly in need of assistance.
Amidst all this, ICNA Relief is taking necessary steps to help affected families regain their footing. “We received a truck full of goods [from ICNA Atlanta] including water, juice, snacks and food,” writes one Alabama aid worker. “We spent the day folding clothes, organizing the supplies and delivering them to survivors.” Volunteers have also been busy in North Carolina, covering roofs, patching holes and sealing broken windows at the Stony Brook North mobile home park in Raleigh.
ICNA Relief is a branch of the Islamic Circle of North America, a national American Muslim organization dedicated to education, outreach and social services. ICNA Relief has maintained an active presence in the United States, assembling teams to work on site and provide aid from Louisiana after Katrina to Texas after Ike. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has previously recognized the organization’s prompt disaster relief efforts. In past disasters like, Katrina, Ike, Gustav and Tennessee Flood, ICNA Relief has partnered with Catholic Charities USA, Lutheran Social Services, the American Red Cross and numerous public and private agencies. Its current disaster relief efforts in Alabama and North Carolina are being conducted in close coordination with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) and various mosques and interfaith and disaster relief groups. Volunteers from across the country have joined in these efforts, and the appreciation for their work has come in spades.
“I really appreciate everything you’ve done for us,” said one Raleigh resident to an ICNA Relief volunteer. “Everything you said you were going to do, you did. You’re just a great guy [and you] work for a great organization.”
For more on ICNA Relief’s efforts, or to find out how you can help, visit www.icnarelief.org.