The “green shirts” are returning to Ottawa County to assess the needs of those who suffered through the Picher tornado.
The teams of “green shirts,” are members of the Disaster Response Services of the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee.
The “green shirts” were in Miami in December to follow up on the previous summer's flood.
“They're coming quicker this time because the need is different,” said Twyla Snider, case manager coordinator of Ottawa County's Community Disaster Recovery Coalition (CDRC). “According to information we received from FEMA, almost 40 percent of those harmed by the Picher tornado are 60 years old or older. It sets up a highly vulnerable situation.”
The situation is even more complicated with the navigation of the Picher buyout.
“Too many times those who need help the most somehow fall through the cracks,” Snider said. “The ‘green shirts' give us a list of those who need help the most.”
The goal of the “green shirts” is to create a list of those who need help, sorted on a priority basis.
Locating those damaged by the tornado will be more difficult and yet easier than locating those who suffered from the flood.
“We're going to do the best we can to track down everyone,” Snider said. “No one remains in the tornado damaged or destroyed buildings. We've received a list of where the water bills have been forwarded to begin tracing the people down.
“Picher is a small, tight-knit community - everyone knows each other and hopefully will be able to tell us where their neighbors went.”
The “green shirt” team leaders are expected to arrive today and the members Wednesday. Activities will begin Thursday.
Snider will man an office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Picher city hall while “green shirts” will go door-to-door in Picher and the surrounding community.
Those with information are welcome to drop by the office or call 673-1765.
In addition to wearing green shirts, the assessors will have identification tags.
Anyone who questions the validity of a “green shirt” should call city hall.