On September 21, 2018, a devastating storm ripped through Ottawa. Multiple tornadoes touched down in the region, causing significant damage to houses and local hydro grids. Almost all of western and southern Ottawa was without power—170,000 households were affected.
In the immediate aftermath of the tornadoes, the community responded with kindness, bravery and dedication. One of the groups who stepped up to support our city in this time of need is the United Muslim Organizations of Ottawa-Gatineau (UMO-OG).
Mosques across parts of the city that were hit by the storm provided shelter, food, and basic needs to individuals struggling after the disaster.
UMO-OG also joined the After the Storm partners table to collaborate and coordinate the deployment of resources where they were needed most.
By rallying together, the community has helped raise vital funds to support the work of After the Storm. UMO-OG’s generosity and leadership was demonstrated yet again on Saturday, March 16th, when they presented United Way Ottawa with a cheque for $36,320 at their annual I.LEAD Conference.
This support was possible thanks to the Assunnah Muslims Association, the South Nepean Muslim Community, the Kanata Muslim Association, the Muslim Association of Canada and Jami Omar Mosque.
Six months after the tornadoes hit, many families are still feeling impacts of the storm. We know that individuals who experience major trauma such as a tornado may develop increased anxiety, nervousness, depression, panic-disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder in the months, after a disaster has occurred.
We also know that, as the snow melts, many individuals will again feel the stresses of the tornado aftermath. Many homes could not be rebuilt before the winter took its hold. Trees still need to be cleared and re-planted. Residents are still struggling with financial management, insurance claims, and navigating support systems.
Communities still have a long way to go before things return to a sense of normalcy.
That’s why donations like this one from the United Muslim Organizations of Ottawa-Gatineau are critical to our city’s recovery over the long term.