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San Diego Foundation releases update on 2007 wildfire disaster Report details accomplishment, challenges of recovery efforts

SAN DIEGO — Nine months after its initial assessment, the San Diego Regional Disaster Fund has released an update to the 2007 Community Needs Assessment Report, which reviews and assesses the current situation that fire survivors face. The report breaks down recovery progress to date, priority needs going forward and calls to action for the public to enhance recovery work.

With the number of impacted households conservatively estimated at 2,000, the report presents a number of findings on progress to date.

As with the 2003 recovery process, the pace of rebuilding is proving to be slow and challenging for most fire survivors. To date, out of 1,600 homes lost to the fires, only 65 have been rebuilt. Past experience has shown that it takes an average of three years for a home to be rebuilt.

A considerable number of homeowners are underinsured, including 500 significantly underinsured homeowners – underinsured at a level that would prohibit rebuilding without financial assistance.

Preparedness is critical, as the majority of homeowners is significantly underinsured and will not be prepared in the event of a future disaster.

The study also outlines various achievements thus far. One example is the creation of seven locally based, long-term recovery centers in San Diego County established by the San Diego Regional Disaster Fund.

Staffed by Community Recovery Team members, they coordinate emotional, physical, financial and spiritual resources to help rebuild survivors’ homes and lives. One of these centers is located in Fallbrook.

Significant funding dollars have been committed thus far and will continue to be used to meet prioritized needs. To date, the San Diego Regional Disaster Fund Board of Directors has committed $7.5 million and works in close partnership with other local and regional funding organizations to support the rebuilding effort.

“The study also suggests a number of ways that the public can help with the recovery process,” said Daniel Beintema, director of the San Diego Regional Disaster Fund. “Understand that recovery is a multi-year process and that families and communities will be dealing with the aftermath for years to come.

“Donate to the San Diego Regional Disaster Fund or any agency currently assisting in the recovery and rebuilding process. Volunteer your time to help families return home. Contact your neighbors and offer direct support on a personal level.

“Prepare yourself and your family for future disasters: know your local disaster service resources, review and update your insurance policies and know what to in the event of another disaster.”

The San Diego Foundation has made the complete fires update report freely available on its Web site. To view the 2007 Community Needs Update, visit or call (619) 235-2300.


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