Kevin is normally a calm unruffled man, but he spent a terrifying night riding out Hurricane Harvey in his boat in his garage. He heard a banging on the garage throughout the night. In the morning, he realized it was his truck floating in his yard, knocking against the garage. Almost everything in his house and garage was ruined by water.
HURRICANE HARVEY: TEXAS
Leola’s house has been her secure home for decades. Now, it is no longer structurally sound. After World Renew volunteers tore out the flooring and waterlogged drywall, they were dismayed to see termites had been eating into the structural timbers. The walls, no longer connected to the floor joists, were threatening to give way.
A World Renew DRS volunteer, left, shows Leola where her flooded home
was structurally damaged by termites even before the flood.
Leeland* and his relatives all lived on the same street. Leeland had lived in his house for 50 years. All of the family’s homes were ruined, and Leeland may have to abandon his home and the joy of living near family. He doesn’t know how he and the rest of his family will recover.
Antonia* nervously waded through chest-deep water to get to a dump truck that rescuers drove to take her to safety. Dump trucks were used during the evacuation because they were heavy enough to withstand the rushing water, and their engines were high enough to stay out of most flood water.
“When our team arrived in October, there were still blankets and sleeping bags speckling the rooftops, indicating residents took fearful refuge on their roof as they waited for rescue,” said World Renew DRS volunteer Marc Faasse.
Kevin (right) spent the night floating in his
boat in his garage during Hurricane Harvey.
So far, World Renew DRS volunteers have been hands on to clean out the homes of Keith, Leola, Leeland, Antonia, and 21 others in Port Arthur, Texas. Officials report that Hurricane Harvey damaged or destroyed more than 500,000 homes, and 53,000 people are still living in motels. World Renew will continue to send volunteers to help with clean-up and home repairs.
To help some of the thousands of people who lost their homes, World Renew DRS is actively meeting with potential partner communities that were affected by the storm. DRS regional managers are visiting with local organizations and churches in Texas to offer services and support.
These communities are requesting unmet needs assessments, building estimators, and home repairs. World Renew is beginning the process of providing these services.
HURRICANE IRMA: FLORIDA
“In Lee County, 159 people are still living in shelters two months after Irma,” said Rich and Pat Grasman, World Renew DRS regional managers. “Officials are working hard to get these individuals and families out of shelter accommodations and into temporary housing. No one wants to stay in a shelter for any longer than necessary, but their homes have been destroyed. Many homes had five feet of water in them.”
The front lawn of this home in Lee County, Florida, is filled
with belongings that were ruined by Hurricane Irma.
A week before Irma hit Florida, Lee County endured heavy rain that resulted in flooding. Then Irma hit and made the existing damage worse. The Grasmans have met with officials in Lee County, with whom World Renew has a relationship, to offer services there.
World Renew DRS regional managers are canvassing Florida’s east and west coasts, diligently seeking out and meeting with local response officials in affected communities. The Grasmans are visiting as many communities as possible across eastern Florida, including Goodland and Immokalee, which were hard-hit by Irma. Regional Managers Eric and Nancy Johnson, are meeting with communities along Florida’s west coast.
HURRICANE MARIA: PUERTO RICO / U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
After a prayer alert was called for an overflowing dam in Puerto Rico that threatened to break over the homes below it, the water has receded to seven feet below the spillway mark. An additional seven-foot decrease is needed before evacuation orders can be lifted, and residents can return to their homes. The order is expected by November 1, 2017. Join us in thanking the Lord for the safekeeping of thousands of homes that would have been destroyed if the dam had broken.
Recent reports say that nearly 3,775 people are still living in shelters as a result of Hurricane Maria, electrical power has been restored to only 25 percent of existing customers, and just 35 percent of cell towers are operational in Puerto Rico.
“I will be traveling with Len Blauwkmap, a DRS regional manager, and we will be in Puerto Rico from November 8 to 12,” said Bob Laarman, director for World Renew DRS. “We will be meeting with our contacts and searching for areas in which we can support local recovery efforts. As far as we can make plans at this point, it is very clear that recovering from Maria will take a substantial amount of time. World Renew is committed to supporting local efforts in Puerto Rico for as long as our services are needed.”
World Renew DRS has a strategic partnership with the Reformed Church in America (RCA) which helps expand the ministry reach. “The RCA is responding in the Virgin Islands through their established churches,” said Laarman. “World Renew DRS is happy to also support their local efforts as much as possible.”
BUILDING ON PARTNERSHIPS
World Renew DRS has significant experience working in many areas of Florida and Texas in the past and is building on existing relationships to put current recovery efforts into motion as quickly as possible. We are also quickly building new relationships in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. DRS regional managers are offering these communities services such as unmet needs assessments, building estimating, and reconstruction labor to assist with recovery efforts.
If you would like to plan a mission trip for your church, family, or school, #jointhesurge to help storm survivors in the wake of the September hurricanes. Visit worldrenew.net/volunteer for information on Texas and Florida opportunities.
Your donations to support these hurricane responses will be used now and in the years to come. Thank you for trusting World Renew with your financial gifts.
Top Image: Volunteers gut out the kitchen of a flooded home in Port Arthur, Texas.