A Hopeful Exchange

When World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS) hold unmet needs assessments, disaster survivors enter our walk-in centers carrying the burden of their post-disaster circumstances. Thankfully, they can trust people empathize with their story and that organizations want to offer them help. DRS witnesses this exchange of information and hope.

In Eastern Kentucky, landslide flooding overcame more than 10,000 homes in July 2022. In a matter of days, swift flood waters were wiping out entire homes and parts of communities. Emergency boat rescues and helicopters saved survivors from the rising waters and rescued them out of their neighborhoods, but weeks later they returned to devastation of their homes. While relief organizations provided immediate relief items such as food, water, and clothing to the community, many like *Stacy are still searching for solutions to their home-related problems.

With Pike County Relief Services, Ron Bouwkamp interviewed Stacy on the DRS unmet needs assessment in Eastern Kentucky. Mold grew throughout Stacy’s home after the flood, and mud seeped into the house’s furnace ducts and septic tank. Stacy has been coping with the effects of the flood and caretaking for her husband with lupus, while their family lives off their son’s disability income. These crises, piled up, felt like more than Stacy could handle. Thankfully, after being interviewed by a DRS unmet needs assessment team, Pike County has assigned a caseworker to Stacy to verify these needs and determine the next steps.

Not far away, the flooding displaced **Ronda from her mobile home. Unfortunately, while moving into a temporary trailer provided to her by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Ronda encountered grave breathing problems, which put her in a life threatening situation. Thankfully, she received an oxygen tank at the hospital, but this problem still poses trouble for her everyday life. With the information Ron collected during Ronda’s unmet needs assessment, Pike County Relief Services aims to relocate Ronda into safe housing.

“It’s difficult to hear about the challenges survivors experience,” Ron shared. “But we know that, in each exchange between survivor and volunteer, because of the effective work of long term recovery groups, hope can be found.”

DRS volunteers identified unmet needs in Pike and Floyd counties that totaled more than $8 million for 132 homeowners. Long-Term Recovery Groups compile information collected from unmet needs assessments and form next steps for each individual’s situation with state or federal funding or contributions from foundations. Pike and Floyd counties’ long-term recovery process after this flooding event will bring positive change to homeowners like Stacy and Ronda. You can support World Renew DRS needs assessments, investing in a future hope for the most-impacted survivors after natural disasters.

*/** Names changed for privacy purposes

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