2013 began with an enormous focus on the northeast U.S. as many communities in New York and New Jersey continued to recover from Hurricane Sandy. For World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS) the work moved from early cleanup to long term recovery capacity building to a continuous string of Unmet Needs Assessments (see the related stories on our website). With 500,000 New York and New Jersey families registering with FEMA for help after being impacted by Sandy, the task is daunting! But, thanks to our staff, Regional & Project Managers, and our Needs Assessment leaders and volunteers, the job is getting done. We expect to send out over 200 Needs Assessment volunteers over the next couple of months, potentially interviewing as many as 10,000 families with unmet needs. These cases will be prioritized and handed over to county and community based long term recovery groups for follow-up.
In addition to the above, DRS is transitioning our long term construction sites from Alabama to the New York / New Jersey area. The work in Alabama, which resulted from the 2011 tornadoes, has been completed, and we are finalizing our plans for the east coast. We will also continue to work in Hyde County, NC and Schoharie, NY, both resulting from Hurricane Irene in 2011. The work in both locations will continue through 2013. And in the fall we expect to open one or two construction sites on the east coast. Already a steady stream of church work groups is planned for the summer months for that area.
But as we continue with our work that came out of the disasters from the last two years, the calendar continues to tick forward… into the 2013 Spring Storm season. The good news is that after last year’s drought, the water on the farms is being replenished. The bad news, as is often the case this time of year, is that for some parts of the continent the water is coming all at once. We have seen major flooding in the upper Midwest of the U.S. as well as in the Grand Rapids, MI area. DRS volunteers have been busy pumping out flooded churches and helping people get back into their homes. And, while there is flooding in some parts of the country, other parts have experienced the destruction that comes along with thunder storms and tornadoes.
Amidst sometimes tumultuous weather, however, we can always count on the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening – even if it’s hidden by cloud cover! There may be food shortages, rising gas prices, and high unemployment, but God is faithful. And, He gives us the strength that we need for the task at hand. Thank you for being a part of DRS, and for being willing to be used in this important work that God has given us.
In His Service,