As Hurricane Irene blows slowly northward into Canada and Nova Scotia today and residents who were evacuated from storm surge areas begin to filter back to their homes and businesses to assess damages, project managers from the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee are traveling east into the aftermath of Irene’s destruction.
Bill Adams, the agency’s director for Disaster Response Services (DRS), said this morning that “disaster response representatives will be arriving in Hyde County and Pamlico Sound, North Carolina, to meet with local officials, churches, and response partners, survey damage, and determine next steps. A Rapid Response team is being readied for deployment to the areas that are most in need.”
The hurricane, which hit North Carolina as a Category 1 storm yesterday morning, brought 74 mph winds and a foot of rain. While Irene landed with less vigor than forecasters predicted, the size of the slow-moving storm, 500 miles in diameter, caused flooding and power outages for more than four million people and continues to disrupt public services, fell trees, and damage structures all along low-lying areas of the northeastern seaboard.
North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, who declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, received a pre-landfall emergency declaration from President Obama’s office on Thursday last week, authorizing the release of National Guard troops into the area and pre-staging for emergency food and other supplies just outside the storm area.
Hurricane Irene’s size and slow movement, sustained winds, and rain over an extended period of time are causing most of the damage and flooding. Officials report that there have been 14 storm-related deaths thus far, most related to felled trees.