Finding Recovery From Repeated Storms

In November 2021, Whatcom County, Washington, residents were unaware of the impact flooding from atmospheric river events would have on their community. On November 14, the Nooksack River overflowed, flooding streets, farmland, and many residential buildings. Kevin and Stephanie are a young couple from Sumas, Washington, a small farming community west of the Cascade mountains. When the community received a warning about the flood, the couple and nearly 500 other people evacuated Whatcom County.

Historically, the Nooksack River has repeatedly flooded, with recorded events dating back to 1917. Yet, the financial damage from the 2021 flood totaled more than 1,600 percent higher cost than the last major flood in 1990. In fact, this flood damaged 85 percent of the homes in Sumas, including Kevin and Stephanie’s.

Upon returning to their home, the couple found three feet of water inside. Unfortunately, the force of the floodwater destroyed their bay window, and they lost all their possessions that were standing on the floor. Thankfully, they received emergency relief from the local Long-Term Recovery Group, Whatcom Strong. Kevin and Stephanie realized there would be a long journey ahead to recover from this flood. In fact, they couldn’t live in their home for five months. Those long months were spent wondering if they would overcome the many trials from the flood.

Thankfully, Kevin and Stephanie received funds from their insurance company to repair the extensive damage to their home. Eventually, they moved back in and set up a kitchen and living room on the second floor of their house, which had remained dry. With the help of friends, they began to complete the needed repairs, but over time, they used up the settlement they received from the insurance company. Then the couple contacted Whatcom Strong for help, wondering if additional flood assistance was available.

Once World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS) partnered with Whatcom Strong, the LTRG assigned DRS volunteers to work on Kevin and Stephanie’s home! With relief, the couple sighed, “We are going to make our house a home again!” DRS volunteers spent multiple weeks repairing the home with Kevin and Stephanie, installing new vinyl plank flooring, replacing the kitchen countertops, hanging new doors, installing trim on the walls, and completing other minor repairs. Additionally, Kevin installed new kitchen plumbing and Stephanie completed the interior painting.

Kevin and Stephanie are grateful for the help of DRS volunteers in repairing their home. “After the flood, our community met with the local leadership and through that, widespread volunteer labor and coordination helped us recover. Thank you.”

Originally, experts told county leaders that it would take years to rebuild their community after the Nooksack River Flood. Thanks to your support and God’s grace, World Renew and other voluntary organizations helped Whatcom County recover after the flood in just one year! To learn more about restoring hope through World Renew Disaster Response Services, go to

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