Monday, October 6, 2008

‘So much need’ along US Gulf Coast

Disaster News Network: When Hurricane Ike hit the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana last month much attention focused on Galveston but smaller towns and communities were also devastated by the disaster. "We've been stumbling into areas where the clean up hasn't even begun," said Scott Sundberg, director of communications for Mennonite Disaster Relief. "People are starting to head back to look at their homes and there isn't any place for them to stay. We're trying to figure out (how to help) them."

The Mennonites and other faith-based organizations that have been sending groups to areas outside Galveston and Houston are calling in more volunteers to help. "We're talking about places that aren't on the map, really," Sundberg said. "Little places that no one was going to, but we're calling in more volunteers."

A spokesperson for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) said one of those places where response was slow to arrive was in Sabine Pass, TX. A suburb of Port Arthur, about 45 miles north of Galveston at the Louisiana border, Sabine Pass was nearly destroyed by the storm surge created by Hurricane Rita three years ago. Just beginning to recover, the area was in the devastating northeast "back side" of Hurricane Ike, which brought with it a 13-foot storm surge. Emergency officials report that every structure in the community of about 500 persons that was not built up from the ground was severely damaged, destroyed, or washed away.

…Kathy Kraiza of the Sager Brown Depot in Baldwin, LA where UMCOR stores supplies for their national disaster relief efforts said they have been sending flood buckets and health kits to Texas in record numbers. Supplies she said are running low and a call has gone out to all the churches to replenish the buckets and the kits. "The need is so great in Texas from Ike. So many people lost so much," Kraiza said.

USGS map of Sabine Pass at the border of Texas and Louisiana.

No comments: