Hurricane Isaac: CWS Emergency Situation Report
Hurricane Isaac made landfall on August 28 and continues to produce drenching rains that are expected to cause significant inland flooding. While damage assessments cannot start until the storm moves past the coast, CWS Emergency Response Specialists are working with state, regional and national agencies to determine where help is needed.
Chris Winkleblech helps his neighbors Angelina Jordan, 6, and Virginia Jordan (right) evacuate the Forestwood Apartments in the Olde Towne area after Hurricane Isaac passed through Slidell, Louisiana, August 30, 2012. Hurricane Isaac forced evacuations affecting tens of thousands of people in Louisiana and Mississippi. REUTERS/Michael Spooneybarger
Hurricane Isaac made landfall last night as a slow moving Category 1
hurricane with sustained winds of 40 to 80 miles per hour. While it
only has Category 1 winds, it is a large and wide ranging storm with a
significant storm surge, and it will continue to produce drenching
rains from the Florida panhandle to the eastern coast of Texas. The
storm is extremely slow moving and is still over the Louisiana coast
where it continues to sustain its energy from the waters of the gulf.
The continued storm surge combined with high tides will significantly
add to the coastal flooding. Damage assessments cannot start until the
storm moves past the coast. As it moves north, heavy rains can be
expected to cause significant inland flooding. It is also not
uncommon for tornadoes to spin off from a hurricane.
The town of Plaquemines, La., (south of Baton Rouge) has been flooded
when Mississippi River waters overtopped the town’s levee. Residents
are reporting as much as 12 feet of water in their homes. Rescue
operations are underway. Mass care sheltering operations are up and
running in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Power outages
are reported in several states. As many as 500,000 customers have lost
power in Louisiana; it will take several days before power is
restored. Earlier heavy rains from Isaac drenched parts of Florida and
surveys are underway there to determine the storm’s impact. There was
flash flooding on the eastern coast of Florida and some storm surge
flooding on the western coast.
CWS Emergency Response Specialists are working with state, regional
and local VOADs (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), FEMA
(Federal Emergency Management Agency), our member denominations and
other agencies to determine where CWS denominations are helping or are
needed. CWS will provide material resources, including blankets,
Hygiene Kits and Clean-up Buckets, as requested. CWS also will assist
communities in developing long-term recovery plans, providing
technical and financial support, as possible. The CWS Emergency
Response Specialist working with the organizations in Florida is Joann
Hale. The specialist for the Gulf Coast states is
CWS communions and affiliated organizations are in place in the
affected states and ready to assist hurricane survivors. Adventist
Community Services is working with emergency managers to assist with
donations management and will operate collection centers, multi-agency
warehouses, and distribution centers as needed. Brethren Disaster
Ministries has Children Disaster Services volunteers on standby and
ready to deploy. The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee will
have teams ready to respond where most needed. Lutheran Disaster
Response is in contact with local affiliates and is making preparations
for volunteer deployment. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has its
Control Center up and running and they are positioning goods. The
United Methodist Committee on Relief has it Gulf Conferences on
standby; they are prepositioning supplies to the region. Mennonite
Disaster Service has personnel on the ground in the threatened states.
Other CWS communions, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America, Episcopal Relief & Development, the United Church of Christ,
the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), International Orthodox
Christian Charities, have their people on standby and will respond
when and where needed. Services that will be provided include debris
removal (mucking out homes and chain sawing fallen trees), warehousing
and distribution of supplies, emotional and spiritual care, providing
personnel for feeding and sheltering operations, volunteer management
and much more. As the storm passes and the initial response phase
ends, CWS and its member communions will assist with the long-term
recovery of the communities and the many activates needed to rebuild,
homes, lives and communities.
How to help:
Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts around the world may be made online, sent to your denomination, or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515.
During disasters such as this are the time to remember that the most
important humanitarian donation that an individual can make is money.
There are already reports of heaps of used clothing piling up:
clothing and other materials that do little to restore the dignity of
survivors. Remember, financial help is best. If you do have supplies
that may be of help, contact a CWS Emergency Response Specialist to
see if the materials can be used and where.
Church World Service is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global
coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian
assistance and advocacy.