Situation report #2: Hurricane Irene

The focus of CWS's response to Hurricane Irene is on supporting recovery groups dealing with unmet needs in affected areas. CWS expects the response will have a wide geographic reach, with the agency assisting communities from the southern United States up to New England.

American-Russian Andre Kozlov, 38, walks through his flooded basement after the pass of Hurricane Irene at Hoboken in New Jersey August 28, 2011.  Hurricane Irene swept along the New Jersey shore early on Sunday, knocking down trees, leaving thousands of people without electrical power and causing flooding.
Photo: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz courtesy www.alertnet.org

Situation:

Hurricane Irene, eventually downgraded to a tropical storm, killed at least 18 people as it slowly churned up the East Coast the weekend of Aug. 27-28.  Damage estimates range from $3 to $7 billion.

The storm cut power to millions and many on the Eastern Seaboard are still without power today. The storm's most visible effect: severe flooding, particularly in several New England states, including Vermont and western Massachusetts.  Thousands remain in shelters.

CWS Response:

The focus of CWS's response to Irene is on supporting recovery groups dealing with unmet needs in affected areas.  CWS expects the response will have a wide geographic reach, with the agency assisting communities from the southern United States up to New England.  "While some are saying the storm wasn't as big as expected, Irene was a major storm that still caused significant destruction," said Barry Shade, CWS's associate director for domestic disaster response.

  • CWS Emergency Response Specialists are in discussions with response agencies ranging from Florida to Maine; CWS will report in greater detail as the week progresses.  CWS Emergency Response Specialist Joann Hale is the primary ERS in this event and has been in contact with FEMA, state Voluntary Agencies Active in Disaster and existing long-term recovery groups.  Her backup is CWS Associate Director Barry Shade.
  • In addition, CWS has had several requests for CWS Emergency Clean-up Buckets, such as from the Community FoodBank of New Jersey in Hillside, N.J., and, last week, from the Chesapeake (Maryland) American Red Cross, which also requested CWS Blankets and Health Kits.  CWS stands ready to continue to support these and other social service agencies and churches with CWS Clean-up Buckets, Hygiene Kits, Baby Kits, School Kits and Blankets.  The New Jersey group is receiving 200 buckets; the Maryland group is receiving 600 blankets, 600 hygiene kits and 600 clean-up buckets.
  • Meanwhile, CWS-member communions are involved in the early aid efforts to help feed survivors in shelters; to start establishing volunteer villages for clean up crews; to conduct damage assessments; and to coordinate crews to remove debris.
  • CWS will issue an appeal later this week with more detailed response information.

HOW TO HELP: Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be made online, sent to your denomination, or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515.

ACT Alliance  Church World Service is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.

Media Contact:
Lesley Crosson, 212-870-2676, lcrosson@churchworldservice.org
Jan Dragin, 781-925-1526, jdragin@gis.net


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