Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers evacuate Chalmette, La.

As it became clear that Hurricane Gustav was heading straight for Louisiana, Brethren Disaster Ministries staff at the Hurricane Katrina rebuilding project in Chalmette, La., heeded evacuation orders.

Project leaders John and Mary Mueller, Amy Fishburn, and Steve Keim followed the mandatory evacuation order issued by the St. Bernard Parish government, but first they battened down the hatches at the volunteer house in Arabi. The group also packed up all of the Brethren Disaster Ministries equipment that they could and hauled it up to McComb, Miss., for temporary shelter.

The Muellers and Keim evacuated to Atlanta, where the Muellers have relatives. They are expected to be able return to Chalmette today, Sept. 3. Only first responders have been allowed back into the area up to now. Fishburn has been reassigned to the Brethren Disaster Ministries project site in Rushford, Minn., for the remainder of her term in Brethren Volunteer Service.

The good news is that the Chalmette area was not flooded, reported Zach Wolgemuth, associate director of Brethren Disaster Ministries. However, the project leaders are still advised to check with parish officials about water quality.

"We anticipate that the next volunteer group can still arrive on Sunday, but they should be aware that we probably won't have air conditioning for awhile", Wolgemuth said.

Source: 9/3/2008 Newsline Extra

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