The April 17 explosion at West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas killed 14 people and injured over 200. The damage to schools, homes and facilities is estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Now, the steady stream of donations is running dry as the news trucks pack up and head to sites of deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma and the Boston marathon aftermath. Even local citizens in nearby Waco are raising funds for relief in other states. As small donations slow to a trickle, fund managers attribute it to “donor fatigue” and are looking for more creative ways to raise cash.
While immediate needs such as finding housing and cleanup are also slowing, rebuilding needs and far away damage are still being assessed. Relief workers are calling in favors from anyone who has expressed interest in helping the town recover from the explosion, including local businesses and corporations. Members of the Red Cross and the West Long Term Recovery committee are stressing the need for volunteers and any efforts to keep awareness up. More events locally are in planning stages, and social media strategies are being implemented.
West relief is also seeing a transition to providing loans and support for small businesses to move back in and reopen. The site of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be converted into the Small Business Administration’s disaster loan outreach center. FEMA employees will remain in the office to handle any disaster issues that may still come up. The LRTC will continue to raise funds through the rebuilding process and assist people find housing and get back to school.