Case management services for survivors of the San Bruno disaster has been turned over to the California-Nevada Annual Conference, in collaboration with United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).
The goal of case management is to empower each survivor to create a comprehensive recovery plan – and to ensure that each survivor has access to the services and resources necessary for them to make a full recovery.
Norm Hardin, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, Phil Bandy, Interim Director of the Conference's Volunteers in Mission program, and the Rev. Jennifer Murdock, Case Management Supervisor have been recruiting volunteers, establishing a field office, and coordinating training with UMCOR.
"Nothing happens in the recovery phase until case management begins," explains Murdock. "However, we are still just one part of a collaborative team of San Bruno agencies, government responders, churches, and mental health providers working together to assess needs, provide services, and promote healing."
On September 9, 2010 a gas pipe explosion devastated the Glenview neighborhood of San Bruno, resulting in eight fatalities and numerous injuries, while destroying 34 homes and damaging many others. Physical, emotional and spiritual recovery for the survivors will be a long process.
California-Nevada United Methodists already have responded to alleviate the suffering and facilitate healing. In particular, trauma expert the Rev. Warren Dale (retired), a member of Woodside Road UMC in Redwood City and a Fellow of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, has been working with the San Bruno Long Term Recovery Coalition to assess mental health needs and provide emotional support. He already has conducted two courses on healing from trauma for the community, and plans to offer more classes in the future.
Dale conducted similar workshops after Hurricane Katrina, following wildfires in Southern California, after the Conflict in Bosnia, and following earthquakes and tsunamis in various countries.
Training for case managers has been scheduled for November 11-12. The Conference will begin case management services on November 15.