National Disaster Management Authority celebrates

The National Disaster Management Authority celebrated its 18th Formation Day today in New Delhi. The vision of NDMA is “To build a safe and disaster resilient India by developing a holistic, proactive, multi-disaster oriented and technology - driven strategy through a culture of prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response”. The theme for this year’s Foundation Day was “Volunteerism in Disaster Management”.

The Chief Guest at the event, the Minister of State for Home Affairs Shri Nityanand Rai, said “Sewa, Samarpan & Paropkar is the identity of Aapda Mitras. In resonance to the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of creating a self-reliant India, Aapda Mitras have shown that volunteerism begins with us, communities coming together to build a safe and resilient India, which is the need of the hour.” He further added, “NDMA is today representing India on various International Forums for Disaster Management like CDRI, wherein India is leading 31 Countries on various facets of innovation, technology and planning for a more structured and secure tomorrow, which percolate to saving of more lives. A decade ago, the mortality rate was much higher, but with NDMA leading Disaster Management, the number of casualties has drastically reduced, it’s miniscule in comparison to the past record of lives lost since the safety/rescue measure adopted are much advanced today.”

Acknowledging the theme of Volunteerism, the Minister of State for Home Affairs Shri Ajay Kumar Mishra,  said that “In any disaster, however quick the government machinery may be, external help takes time to reach the affected people and this time lag is very crucial in saving lives and livelihood. The immediate and first response, therefore, lies within the affected community in the form of volunteers who can play a crucial role in minimizing the losses, when adequately trained and equipped. While the need of volunteerism in disaster management has been envisaged in the National Policy on Disaster Management 2009, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has also given great emphasis in his Ten Point Agenda on Disaster Risk Reduction, to build local capacities and initiatives and to encourage volunteerism in Disaster Risk Management.” He mentioned that Prime Minister Modi has asked NDMA to expand our focus from a relief centric approach to a proactive approach of prevention, mitigation and building back better in terms of reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Trained Aapda Mitra volunteers from the States of Karnataka, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and Uttar Pradesh along with the volunteers/cadets of other organisations such as the National Cadet Core (NCC), National Service Scheme (NSS), Nehru Yuva Kendra (NYK), Civil Defence and Bharat Scout & Guide (BSG) attended the celebrations and displayed their personal equipment (ERK) as well as district level EERR equipment at the venue.

The Technical Sessions consisted of deliberations and experience sharing on Volunteerism in Disaster Management.  Participating States shared their best practises on Volunteerism in Disaster Management. Non-Government Organisations (NGO), viz. SEEDS, Sphere India, World Vision India and Action Aid India presented their Case Studies in Disaster Management through volunteerism. Thereafter, a panel discussion was held on possible role of cadets/volunteers of NSS, NCC, NYK, NSG and NYK in Disaster Management now and in future followed by a Valedictory Session chaired by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr. P.K Mishra who described the efforts of NDMA and Aapda Mitra and other volunteers an integral part of Disaster Management.


NW / AY / RR

(Release ID: 1863178)
Visitor Counter : 388

Community Disaster Loans are forgiven 9 years after Superstorm Sandy

CDL relief, initially presented by HFA’s Robert W. Allison to local Congressman for support, has been signed into law late last week as a stopgap measure to avoid a government shutdown.

Congressman Andy Kim and HFA's Robert Allison

Congressman Andy Kim and HFA’s Robert Allison

LAKEWOOD, N.J.Oct. 5, 2021PRLog — Community Disaster Loan (CDL) relief for shoreline and seaside communities still recovering from Superstorm Sandy has been signed into law late last week by the President as a stopgap measure to avoid a government shutdown. Repayments of the remaining balances of all loans, as of September 30, 2021 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency under section 417 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5184) are now cancelled.

A total of over $12.1 million in loans will be forgiven in Ocean County, as part of a total $25.9 million in outstanding obligations from New Jersey. The bill that passed the Senate and House also includes billions of dollars in funding to respond to devastation that was caused by Hurricane Ida.

Robert W. Allison, CPA, RMA, President of HFA with offices in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, initiated the cancellation process of Community Disaster Loans (CDLs) related to Superstorm Sandy after facing the continued economic stressors of COVID-19. In a bipartisan effort, Allison was the first to contact the local offices of Congressman Andy Kim, Congressman Chris Smith and Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. who represent Superstorm Sandy’s hardest hit towns.

“In my dealings with the congressional offices that represent Monmouth, Ocean and Atlantic Counties, everyone was extremely responsive and understood the consequence of CDL repayment on the taxpayer,” said Allison. “The CDL forgiveness allows us to avoid large tax increases to the affected residents of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. This provides direct relief to communities by canceling the repayment for all uncollected amounts owed with respect to CDLs made by the federal government for all Sandy loans.”

Kim said he is proud to have fought for and won more than $12 million in total loan forgiveness for several Ocean County towns and schools. “Bob Allison has been providing incredible information and others on the team have been helpful so that we can work together,” Kim said at an October 5 press conference. “This is not just a huge win for Ocean County, but for the towns here that have been struck. I lay this out to you as an example of how government works. Partisanship aside… it’s about us trying to identify what are the priorities of the community and delivering for the people.”

Smith, who also supported the legislation, says, “The historic devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy required us to do everything to rebuild, including seeking much-needed federal assistance in grants and loans. The forgiveness of Community Disaster Loans provides critical relief for our towns and recognizes the ongoing burdened faced by our communities as we work to fully recover.”

The loan forgiveness provisions for New Jersey towns enacted by Congress would not have happened without the diligent hard work of our local officials, and the relief is an important win for our shore communities, according to Smith who, working with local mayors, pushed and voted for the federal forgiveness provisions to help multiple shore towns in his district in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

With this passage, shore towns are now forgiven of their outstanding CDL balances. The highest outstanding balances above $1 million fall on Ventnor City, Toms River Township, Little Egg Harbor Township, Borough of Point Pleasant, Borough of Highlands, Stafford Township, Borough of Beach Haven, Borough of Keansburg and Berkeley Township.

Raymond B. O’Hare, the Borough Manager of Keansburg, said “I give credit for this to Bob Allison. He was the original starter for this outcome. He took the ball and ran with it.”

Toms River Township also worked with HFA on the appeal process multiple times so the municipality wouldn’t have to pay back the loans. “Last week, we received the good news from Congressman Kim that our efforts paid off,” said Toms River Mayor Maurice B. Hill. “This wouldn’t have happened without bipartisan support.”

Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra said, “Point Pleasant Beach is grateful to have a partner like Holman Frenia Allison working so hard for us. Their advice and counsel helped us navigate through our CDL loan payment decisions and provided us with the confidence to seek forgiveness. As a result of their strong insight and Congressman Smith’s powerful legislative work, we will be saving over $800,000 that can be used for much needed town infrastructure improvements.”

Manasquan Mayor Ed Donovan said his town was forced into borrowing $2 million dollars for the CDL and has paid back about half of it. “This is a big deal,” he continued. “I am thankful for the efforts of Bob Allison and Congressman Smith’s office. Now we don’t have to repay the remainder of those loans and we can use those funds for other needed projects and improvements in Manasquan.”

Throughout history, the CDL program has supported local governments with significant tax and other major revenue losses after major disasters. While the program did provide critical emergency support for communities after Sandy, some loan recipients are being asked to pay back those loans at a time when localities are projecting extraordinarily steep revenue declines due to constricted economic activity because of COVID-19.

Looking to the future, Congressman Kim notes he is working on additional provisions that would help New Jersey homeowners forced to pay back aid that was disbursed in the aftermath of Sandy by stopping any further recoupment efforts for debt owed to the federal government in relation to Sandy and other major declared disasters. These recoupment efforts, known as “clawbacks”, have blindsided many because it was under the federal government’s own recommendation that many New Jersey residents applied for loans and benefits offered by various federal programs without clear guidance on repayment terms and contingencies.

“This month marks nine years since Superstorm Sandy devastated our communities,” said Kim. “This relief is an important step in healing our communities, but there’s still work ahead of us. I won’t stop fighting until every single homeowner in my district has the financial relief they need.”

About HFA

HFA, Certified Public Accountants and Advisors, is headquartered in Central New Jersey. Established in 1996, the firm services a diverse client base within the tri-state area providing highly personalized and comprehensive accounting, audit, tax and business consulting services. HFA is headquartered in Lakewood with a satellite office in Red Bank. To learn more, visit (…

A Disaster, a Paradigm Shift, and a Vision

A devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, with its epicenter was in the village of Léogâne in the Ouest department, about 25 kilometers west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. The calamity impacted an estimated three million individuals. Hundreds of thousands of people died, while countless others were uprooted and had nowhere to go. Many countries pledged funds and dispatched rescue and medical crews, engineers, and support people in response to humanitarian appeals. “Hope for Haiti Now,” the most-watched telethon in history, aired on January 22nd, raising US$58 million by the next day.
Is this, however, what Haiti needs? Will a country be saved by a few million dollars if it has a history of national debt, unfair trade policies from other countries, and foreign involvement in domestic affairs?
A name rang out among the sobbing, screams, and cries for aid from terrified Haitians. Among the rumblings and falling debris, a prayer for Jesus’ salvation echoed.
Jean Gerard Rhau, a bishop with the Church of God International will transform every reader’s worldview. In the book, “When the 7.0 Magnitude Earthquake Hit Haiti,” he recalls his life-changing experiences on a mission trip to Haiti. Rhau gives a comprehensive description of what transpired on that terrible day.
The book will make you rethink the value of your time. It will educate you to appreciate life, and to live in the moment, because no one can predict what will happen in the following few minutes. We will learn to respect life and people more while they are still alive, not knowing how much longer they have to live. Rhau’s book will reveal the fragility and brevity of human life, allowing readers to undergo a paradigm shift and live for what truly counts. In this narrative, Rhau also talks about the visions he had from God. A vision that will have a significant impact on Haiti’s geopolitical situation in the near future.
Learn about the vision’s details. Get your copy now!
Buy the book at:
When the 7.0 Magnitude Earthquake Hit Haiti: My Personal Experiences
Author: Jean Gerard Rhau
Publisher: Your Online Publicist
Published Date: May 2021
Book Genre: Memoir
About the Author:
Jean Gerard Rhau lives in Cranston, Rhode Island. He is a bishop with the Church of God International. He is married, father of four, and have three grandchildren. He has been a business professional for over twenty-five years, mostly in telecommunications and computer technology. He holds an MBA in Global Management from the University of Phoenix. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Business Management and Technology from New England Institute of Technology. He also has an associate degree in electronics and science from New England Tech. He studied Pastoral Ministry from the affiliated school of theology (Church of God Theological Seminary in Cleveland Tennessee, remote learning program including hands-on experience). He also studied software programming from the National Radio Institute in Washington, DC. He worked his first job as an assistant engineer on the S/S Veracruz, passenger ship for two years, visited more than sixty countries, and later twenty more. He  has been there and done that, and he is looking forward to more great things in life. His motto is: “Do unto others as you would like others to do unto you.”

The Pandemic Can Be A Disaster Or An Opportunity For Young People Says Award Winning Author And Film Maker Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

    WILMINGTON, NC, March 27, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ — In a recent article on the New York Times website, it was stated that the Times asked 5,500 teenagers about their experience of the pandemic. Their responses were sobering.

As stated in the article, “In words and images, audio and video, they reported that it was, in many ways, a generation-defining disaster. Being trapped inside — and missing the milestones that ordinarily mark coming of age in America — was lonely, disorienting, depressing and even suffocating.

“But many also surprised themselves. They bonded with siblings, discovered nature, found small comforts in Zoom-school, played games, worked out, cooked, wrote, sang, danced, painted and made videos. And, perhaps most important at a time of life focused on figuring out who you are, they reinvented themselves.”

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, award winning author and Selfie Film Maker, see both sides. On one hand, the pandemic could be seen to be a catastrophic tragedy, due to the loss of connection with nearly all the things that make up the common teenage experience. On the other hand, there is an opportunity to transform that dreadful experience into something constructive.

“While the world weeps there are still sparks of invention, creativity, and hope,” Holstein stated. “Vaccines made in amazing haste, a new process developed for vaccines that may ultimately make humans close to virus free! Art, music, new and old connections with each other and new forms of communication. Perhaps the most startling has been Zoom and Zoom type platforms. Invented for the business world particularly, Zoom has helped the rest of us stay sane at times and joyful at other times and just able to feel we are connected to those we care about.

“Yet Zoom has served another purpose. Zoom has allowed actors, writers, musicians to keep up their skills and share their material. For me as a Positive Psychologist and a filmmaker, Zoom has been amazing. It has given me a platform to do dramatic readings of my three scripts that look at love in couplehood in all its complicated dimensions.

“The first of three scripts, ‘Life is Complicated’ gets right to the heart of early marriage. Any of us that have been there know how hard it really is to get comfortable with another on an intimate basis. Once the joy and lust fade a bit, we are just humans trying to figure things out. The second and third Zoom dramas in the ‘Trilogy of Love’ series also focus on couples. However, these couples have been married more years and are now dealing the other issues of connection that come up, particularly the ways we stay romantically involved, which can include the use of fantasy. ‘I Had an Affair or Did I?’ and ‘I Had an Affair with my Husband’ and ‘Life is Complicated’ have already been selected and won over 20 awards at film festivals and competitions as film scripts. I am just beginning to send these Zoom productions out to film festivals as experimental filming developed during the Pandemic. You can see one of my three zoom dramas, ‘Life is Complicated’ on Vimeo at:”

Month after month for the last few years Dr. Holstein has been winning award after award for her “selfies as drama” conceptual films – over 100 to date. These are not just selfie films. They have at their core positive psychology principles that only Dr. Holstein can bring to the table.

Dr. Holstein’s cutting-edge presentations, most recently based on the Covid-19 pandemic issues, can be found on both YouTube, Vimeo and on the Roku channel and Amazon Fire TV, titled as ‘The Enchanted Self Presents’.

Dr. Holstein recently created The Selfie Showcase, a new project emerging from The Selfie Project, that allows young people to voice their opinions on subjects that matter to young people. She is now accepting submissions from the public for the “Selfie Showcase” and is actively seeking change-makers and mental health professionals to appear on her monthly video podcasts.

The Selfie Showcase allows kids, teens, and young adults ages 13 to 18 to candidly express their concerns, worries, observations and possible solutions by creating selfie videos or films around important subjects, using a smartphone. Dr. Holstein’s mission is to help rectify, in several ways, some of the issues young people face by giving them a chance to engage with others in meaningful ways about the anxiety and stress they must grapple with constantly.

Selected participants may appear on the Selfie Project Channel, available on YouTube at They will also appear in the Selfie Showcase on They will receive a certificate of merit and may be invited to be on Holstein’s monthly podcast or perhaps be a part of her next film. Full details, rules for submission and helpful hints can be accessed at the Selfie Filmmakers site at

Dr. Holstein’s unique Selfie Films have taken many awards and have been shown in many film festivals and competitions. A full list can be found at

Holstein’s podcast series is actively seeking change-makers and visionaries to appear on her monthly podcasts. Dr. Holstein hopes to feature members of traditional media, mental health professionals and educators who can make a real difference in the lives of young people. Many of the podcasts feature young people – to give them a voice regarding their concerns and their solutions. Guests, if accepted, can arrange to appear by contacting Dr. Holstein directly.

Dr. Holstein is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below or by email at [email protected]. More information about the Selfie Showcase is available at Selfie videos and selfie films can be uploaded at Potential podcast guests can contact Dr. Holstein by email. More information is available at her primary website at


Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, internationally known Positive Psychologist is the creator of The Enchanted Self ®, a positive psychology method for happiness and a pioneer in Selfies as Film. Dr. Holstein’s Enchanted Self website was included as one of the best websites in positive psychology. She is in private practice in Long Branch, New Jersey with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein.

Dr. Barbara can be found on the web, interviewed, writing articles and posting video ‘TED’ style talks on Happiness, Positive Psychology, Relationships and Parenting. Her Roku channel is: The Enchanted Self Presents.

She has been a contributor to Your Tango, Heart and Soul, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Honey Good, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Redbook, Real Simple, Women’s World, The Wall Street Journal,, Time on line, the Today Show and Family Circle Magazine.