Thursday, December 13, 2007

Recovery under way in Pacific Northwest

Disaster News Network: Recovery efforts are under way in the Pacific Northwest after hurricane-force winds earlier this month toppled acres of trees and torrential rainfall caused massive flooding that ripped out bridges, buckled pavement and inundated homes with up to 25 feet of water. In some cases, there is nothing to recover.

"One farmer alone lost $1 million worth of dairy cows and equipment. He spent his life developing his business and now it's all gone. How can you recover from a loss like that," asked Stan Wyse, treasurer and volunteer with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) of Washington. "Sadly, his story is just one of many," Wyse said. Wyse and others from a wide range of faith-based organizations have spent the past few days assessing the destruction caused by back-to-back storms that ravaged coastal areas in Washington and Oregon. At least eight people were killed.

Preliminary findings indicate that damage is more widespread and extensive than originally expected…. "I don't think we've ever seen anything of this scale in this area. It almost qualifies as a catastrophe," said David Baylor, who also serves as the diocese's representative on the Washington Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. "This event even wiped out public services, which has made it even harder to respond," he said. "In some towns, they've had to establish emergency operating headquarters from scratch because even municipal police and fire departments have been flooded."

…Following appeals from the governors of both states, President Bush issued federal disaster declarations for Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, Tillamook and Yamhill counties in Oregon and for Grays Harbor, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific and Thurston counties in Washington. The declarations only provide relief for state and local governments and do not provide assistance for individuals. One day later, Bush approved individual assistance for residents in Columbia and Tillamook counties in Oregon and Grays Harbor and Lewis counties in Washington. More counties may be added later.

….The Emergency Response Program of Church World Service (CWSERP), an interfaith disaster relief organization, issued an appeal Wednesday for emergency response specialists to lead training in Washington and Oregon.

No comments: