New York nonprofit helps create disaster response app for 27 religions

Floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes and brutal heatwaves do not discriminate; they may drive Individuals of each non secular religion from their properties and into mass shelters.

Now, there is a new free app to assist catastrophe responders know the way to perceive the non secular wants of the survivors they take care of. The Disasters & Religions app outlines key parts of 27 completely different religions: dietary necessities, whether or not believers are required to carry out particular rituals and whether or not sure kinds of medical assist, akin to blood transfusions, are forbidden. With a few clicks, the app consumer can entry info on 12 Christian denominations and religions starting from Baha’i to Zoroastrianism.

The app additionally explains the roles of spiritual and lay leaders in numerous congregations so catastrophe responders can have the best individuals accessible to consolation the believers. For instance, below Zoroastrianism, somebody caring for catastrophe survivors can study that each day prayers contain “kindling a small hearth in an urn.” The app notes that many followers endure from a specific enzyme deficiency. It additionally presents a capsule historical past of the faith. core doctrines and beliefs and a listing of holy days.

“Native American” faiths is one other class. Beneath medical care, it notes that “in lots of traditions, it’s the customized to avoid wasting misplaced enamel, amputated limbs and surgically eliminated organs for eventual burial with the physique.”

The app was developed by the nonprofit New York Catastrophe Interfaith Providers (a federation of ministries, charities and faith-based aid teams), the Nationwide Catastrophe Interfaiths Community and the College of Southern California Heart for Faith and Civic Tradition. The Interfaiths Community is a consortium of consultants who advise ministries and faith-based catastrophe outreach. It was based in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina highlighted the necessity for catastrophe chaplains and a technique to share catastrophe preparation info with numerous congregations. Instruments developed by that community, and USC are utilized by the U.S. Division of Homeland Safety, the Federal Emergency Administration Company and the American Crimson Cross.

Peter B. Gudaitis is Govt Director & CEO of New York Catastrophe Interfaith Providers and president of the nationwide community.

“Three quarters of U.S. residents are individuals of religion. But, as a rustic, we frequently battle to grasp the distinctive non secular beliefs, practices and day-to-day wants of every individual,” Gudaitis stated in a press release. “In occasions of disaster, this app will equip responders with assets to feed, shelter, counsel, bury or present emotional and religious care to the range of individuals of religion, amongst many different unmet wants, throughout disasters and public well being emergencies that face our nation.”

Brie Loskota, govt director of the USC Heart for Faith and Civic Tradition, hopes that the app might be helpful to first responders and authorities companies who wish to talk about catastrophe preparedness with numerous homes of worship. The app, for instance, explains the distinction between a mosque and an Islamic Heart and the Sufis’ dergah to catastrophe consultants who wish to discuss with a Muslim gathering about packing a go-bag and the way to be alerted to emergency evacuations.

When requested if the app was user-friendly for older catastrophe response volunteers, Loskota instructed the Instances Union, “Sure, we designed it to be straightforward for everybody to make use of.”

And a quick take a look at run by a Instances Union reporter proved it to be very straightforward to make use of, search and navigate.

The app additionally contains 26 ideas sheets from the Nationwide interfaiths community and New York Catastrophe Interfaith Providers tailor-made for congregational leaders akin to rabbis, imams and pastors to make use of on points like readiness and restoration.

The app may be uploaded without cost from the App Retailer and Google Participant.

The tip sheets advanced from a Nationwide Catastrophe Interfaiths Community “Be a Prepared Congregation” marketing campaign and may be printed out from:

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