A natural disaster can strike your home or your neighborhood at any time. It could be a natural disaster, like a flood or an earthquake, or a man-made disaster, such as a chemical spill. Fortunately, relief organizations are available to help families in times of emergency. They may provide immediate emergency relief such as food, water, and temporary housing. Down the road, you may also need financial assistance to help get your life back to normal. The information below will help you find the help you need after a disaster.
Immediately following a disaster
In the hours and days immediately following a disaster, you'll want to make sure that your family's basic needs are met. These organizations help provide food, water, shelter, and other emergency needs to victims of a disaster.
- American Red Cross 1-800-733-2767
- The Red Cross provides food, shelter, clothing, and emotional support in the immediate aftermath of a flood, fire, or other disaster. The Red Cross also can quickly send communications to deployed service members on behalf of their families.
- This comprehensive site will help you search for disaster relief by the type of assistance you need or by federal agency.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 1-800-621-3362
- FEMA provides support to citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. The Response and Recover tab on FEMA's website has information on what to do immediately after a disaster. You'll also find information on applying for emergency assistance from FEMA, as well as tips for filing an insurance claim.
- If you live on or near a military installation, the installation may have a plan to assist military families following a disaster. Check with the military police or the installation's Emergency Preparedness Officer.
- Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) 1-800-769-8951
- AFAS provides emergency financial assistance to active Air Force members, Reserve component members on extended duty, retirees, and their family members.
- Army Emergency Relief (AER) 1-866-878-6378
- Emergency financial assistance is available to active duty Soldiers, members of the Reserve component on extended duty, certain retirees, and their families.
- Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) 1-703-696-4904
- NMCRS provides interest-free loans and grants to help with emergency needs to active duty, Reserve, and retired Navy and Marine Corps personnel and their eligible family members.
- American Legion 1-800-433-3318
- The American Legion provides financial assistance to service members and veterans in need through their Temporary Financial Assistance program.
- The Disaster Center
- This commercial site has links and phone numbers for most major insurance companies. Click on "Disaster & Emergency Insurance Claim Reporting Information." Go to www.disastercenter.com/agency.htm for an extensive listing of agencies that help victims of disaster.
- Follow the links under "Preparation & Recovery" and "After a Flood" for information on returning home and filing an insurance claim.
- Your Installation's Support Services
- Each Service branch sponsors information and support programs for service members and their families. You can call or visit any installation Army Community Service Center, Marine Corps Community Services, Fleet and Family Support Center, or Airman and Family Readiness Center office regardless of your branch affiliation.
- National Guard Family Assistance Centers
- If you aren't near an installation, National Guard Family Assistance Centers are available in every state. The Local Community Resource Finder on the National Guard Family Program at www.jointservicessupport.org will identify your closest center.
- Military OneSource
- This free 24-hour service is available to all active duty, Guard, and Reserve members (regardless of activation status) and their families. Consultants provide information and make referrals on a wide range of issues, including dealing with natural disaster. Free face-to-face counseling sessions (and their equivalent by phone or online) are also available. Call 1-800-342-9647 or go to www.militaryonesource.mil to learn more.
Military relief organizations
Military relief organizations are private, nonprofit organizations that help service and family members with certain emergency financial needs. They provide financial help in the form of interest-free loans, grants, or a combination of loans and grants.