“Our neighbors in Oklahoma are just beginning that process and on a larger scale, so it may take even longer to get everybody back home again,” Mills-Knutsen said.
She said the Oklahoma EF-5 media coverage is triggering negative reactions for those touched by the March 2 tornado.
“Seeing the images on TV of the schools and the loss of life in the schools in Oklahoma is bringing up, for a lot of people here, the memories of March 2,” Mills-Knutsen said. “For many people, it is reopening their own trauma, and they are experiencing anxiety or fear or panic that they thought they had started to move past, but it has opened it all back up again.”
She said those in the area who are experiencing trauma should seek help from organizations such as March2Recovery and LifeSpring Inc. in Clark County. March2Recovery can be reached at 502-599-8557.
Catie Wheatley, community chapter executive for Clark County American Red Cross, said the organization is gearing up to coordinate relief efforts for those affected by the Oklahoma tornado and some area volunteers have been deployed.
She said two emergency response vehicles — each manned by two volunteers from the Red Cross Kentuckiana Region — departed for Oklahoma on Tuesday morning and three additional teams were preparing for deployment.
“We distribute a lot of bottled water from those vehicles,” Wheatley said. “Those are things that you know from the very beginning that are going to be needed on the ground. We pre-deploy as much as we can in that sense.”
Wheatley said Red Cross officials are contacting 343 Red Cross-trained volunteers who live in six counties across Southern Indiana for possible volunteer efforts. She said only those who have received training through Red Cross will be considered for deployment.
“We want our volunteers to have the skills and the expertise to meet the needs on the ground, but we do find at times like these people do want to be involved, so we try to do the training as quickly as we can.”
She said people interested in becoming a volunteer should visit the organization’s website — redcross.org — to begin the volunteer process. For those not interested in volunteering with Red Cross but wanting to help the Oklahoma tornado victims, Wheatley said financial donations are gladly accepted.
“We always accept financial contributions to disaster relief,” she said. “[Financial donations] and our volunteer base help keep us strong and ready to respond at a moment’s notice.”