Simultaneous Relief Works Keep Up in Wake of Wilma

As the Wilma-battered cities and hungry survivors in Florida received a visit from President George W. Bush on Thursday, nonprofit and Christian organizations have kept up unprecedented simultaneous relief efforts across the storm-pummeled states.

Florida, along with Mexico and Cuba, reported progress in recovery, according to Agence France-Presse, days after Atlantic's strongest storm on record whipped the tourist attraction areas.

Convoy of Hope, a nonprofit organization providing disaster relief and sponsoring outreaches to the poor communities across the globe, supplied truckloads of food to local food banks, The Salvation Army and other stationed agencies through the support of the American public.

"The Springfield-based Convoy of Hope said 'thank you' to its community for the ongoing support it gives to the nonprofit organization," said a released statement.

Both observing “Make a Difference Day” on Oct. 22 and continuing its generous aid work, Convoy of Hope set up a distribution point for groups that are only able to accept more variety of provisions in smaller quantities rather than large palletized items.

Relief efforts are also taking place in other areas around the world. Convoy of Hope is distributing tents and blankets to the homeless in quake-stricken Pakistan. Food and clothing are also being allocated to Hurricane Stan victims in Central America in addition to those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf Coast.

"We are committed to helping these victims, though we have never had to face challenges this numerous and this extensive before," said U.S. Disaster Response Director Kary Kingsland. "We are confident that the public's generosity will provide us with the resources to adequately assist the people in each of these devastated areas."

The Salvation Army is also tending to grieved victims across the globe where disasters have become all too familiar. Meeting needs in Florida, 26 mobile feeding units have responded, each providing up to 500 meals a day. Additionally, four Incident Command Centers of operation are being set up to strategically manage the relief operations in the aftermath of Wilma.

Many Salvation Army relief workers addressing the damages of Wilma just returned from serving in the Gulf Coast following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"This has certainly put an emotional and physical strain on many of our people," said Trey Jones, interim disaster services director for The Salvation Army in Florida, in a released statement. "But everyone is ready and willing to step up and help where needed."

Recent reports show that power is restored in some parts of Florida including the Keys, but some four million residents remain without electricity. Damage costs for Wilma's strike have been estimated at four to eight billion dollars, according to California-based risk specialists EQECAT.

Meanwhile, a record-breaking 23rd Atlantic storm for the 2005 hurricane season, tropical storm Beta, has formed off the coast of Nicaragua Thursday and is predicted to become a hurricane, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.