Friday, September 09, 2011

Church of the Brethren Ministries responds to Hurricane Irene

Children's Disaster Services responds to Hurricane Irene: Remnants of Lee force evacuations
Hurricane Irene pummeled the East Coast on Aug. 27 and 28 with high winds and up to 14 inches of rain, causing flash floods in mountain areas and major flooding along rivers and streams. Parts of New England and the eastern part of New York State were hit especially hard.

Children's Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers arrived on Tuesday, Sept. 6, to care for children affected by the hurricane at the request of the New York State Office of Emergency Management. The team of four CDS volunteers was working in a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) northwest of Albany, NY until remnants of Tropical Storm Lee caused additional flooding in already saturated areas.

On Wednesday afternoon, in compliance with an evacuation order the Children's Disaster Services team, along with residents and other relief workers, evacuated to higher ground. As of Thursday, Sept. 8, thousands of residents along the Susquehanna River in New York and Pennsylvania were being evacuated. The CDS team has redeployed to Binghamton, NY to serve in a Red Cross shelter that is housing 1,000 residents.

The flooding from the remnants of Lee is being compared to Hurricane Agnes, which inundated the Susquehanna region in 1972. CDS staff are putting more teams together to fulfill anticipated needs due to the storms.

Grants from Emergency Disaster Fund support Hurricane Irene relief

As it hugged the coastline, Hurricane Irene generated record rainfall in numerous locations already saturated from above normal rainfall this year. The result was devastating, as 16 states from Georgia to Maine experienced severe flooding. Irene left a path of destruction that is expected to rank as one of the top ten costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.

Two grants totaling $25,000 from the Church of the Brethren's Emergency Disaster Fund are supporting Hurricane Irene relief efforts. The first grant, in the amount of $5,000, makes possible the Children's Disaster Services response in New York, including replacement supplies for therapeutic play and volunteer travel, lodging and meals.

The second grant, for $20,000, was requested by Brethren Disaster Ministries staff in response to a Church World Service appeal following storm-related devastation along the U.S. Atlantic Coast. This Emergency Disaster Fund grant will assist the efforts of Church World Service in providing emergency clean-up buckets, hygiene kits, baby kits, school kits, and blankets in affected communities. The grant also will support CWS as they assist communities in long-term recovery development through seed grants and training.

Cleanup is only now beginning, and the true cost to communities, families and livelihoods has yet to be determined. Plans are underway for a sustained response to the long-term rebuilding needs in affected areas. As the needs become known, Brethren Disaster Ministries will consider how to assist the long-term recovery of storm survivors. Additional grants from the Emergency Disaster Fund will be requested as the response to this disaster expands.

Donations to Hurricane Irene Recovery can be mailed to Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120. Online donations can be made at

Material Resources sends shipments to disaster sites
Material Resources staff at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. have been busy with shipments in response to Hurricane Irene on behalf of Church World Service. Cleanup buckets, hygiene kits, school kits and baby kits went to Waterbury, Vermont; Manchester, New Hampshire; Ludlow, Vermont; Brattleboro, Vermont; Greenville, North Carolina; Hillside, New Jersey, and Baltimore, Maryland. A total of 3,150 cleanup buckets were included in these shipments.

Emergency Clean-up Buckets needed
Church World Service reports that the response to Hurricane Irene will rapidly deplete CWS Kit supplies, especially the Emergency Clean-up Buckets. The available supply in the Distribution Center in New Windsor is less than 50 at this point. All efforts to replenish supplies for future emergencies are, as always, greatly appreciated. Information on how to assemble Emergency Clean-up Buckets is available at

Source: 9/9/2011 Newsline