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March 21, 2022 Disaster Legal Services

Disaster recovery and resilience highlighted by ABA, others

This month, the ABA Young Lawyers Division Disaster Legal Services Program has teamed up with Equal Justice Works, the American Red Cross, Pro Bono Net, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and National Disaster Legal Aid for the second annual Disaster Resilience Awareness Month. Throughout March, the organizations are conducting an awareness-raising and education campaign to highlight the key role legal professionals play in helping people affected by disasters including hurricanes, floods, wildfires, winter storms and COVID-19.

Through the Disaster Legal Services Program, YLD and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provide immediate temporary legal assistance to disaster survivors at no charge. Since September 2007, YLD has responded to 257 declared disasters in 45 states and five U.S. territories. Among other things, this month DLS is featuring a program on FEMA’s new strategic plan.

Wildfires in Kansas and California, tornadoes in the Midwest and south, and Hurricane Ida were just a few of the more than 300 federal major disaster declarations across the United States and territories in the past five years. The increasingly common catastrophes underscore the importance of disaster resiliency, which is the ability to prepare for, absorb, recover from and better adapt to changed circumstances.

Legal aid and pro bono attorneys who want to access additional specialized disaster advocacy resources can join the National Disaster Legal Aid Advocacy Center, a growing online community of advocates working on disaster response and recovery.

“The ABA has long been a leader in providing free legal services after natural disasters and is proud to be involved in efforts to raise awareness of disaster relief, readiness and resiliency,” ABA President Reginald Turner said. “We applaud the lawyers who assist our fellow citizens in getting back on their feet after a disaster.”

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