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Texas Annual Conference - Isaac Response History

 

From Communication Director:

From this point forward, updated about Hurricane Isaac related response will be made on an as needed basis.

 

URGENT NEED: - Cleaning Buckets (see link for details on putting kits together and drop off locations)

Thursday October 4th update:

  • The information from the Isaac response will be moved later this month from Active Response to a Historical Response Page. It will allow us all to look back on responses catalogued as they unfold.
  • We have a field report (immediately below here) from Rick Carpenter who led a response team to Louisiana for Isaac relief efforts last week.

Team Leader: Rick Carpenter
Asst. Team Leader: Judy Freeman
Members: Lorrie Bell, Glen Grant, Jimmy Satterfield, Rev Clay Whitaker, Rev Tommy Myrick, Tom Hulon, Sherry Hulon, Bonnie Lokey, John Kerastas
Lodging: Gretna UMC, Gretna LA
Work site: Braithwaite LA
Dates: Sept 24 through Sept 30

Clay Whitaker (South Dist, TXC) and Tommy Myrick (West Dist, TXC) arrived at Gretna UMC on Mon Sept 24 after dropping off flood buckets to Sager Brown. They worked Tues Sept 25 through Thurs Sept 27, left Fri Sept 28. Huntsville contingent of Judy Freeman, Lorrie Bell, Glen Grant, Jimmy Satterfield, and Rick Carpenter (all West Dist, TXC) arrived Tues pm, worked Wed Sept 26 through Fri Sept 28, left Sat Sept 29. Navasota contingent of Sherry Hulon, Tom Hulon, and Bonnie Lokey (all West Dist, TXC) arrived Thurs Sept 27 pm, worked Fri Sept 28 through Sat Sept 29, left Sun Sept 30. John Kerastas, an ERT trainer from Chicago joined us for the week as well.

The work consisted of (dry) mucking out Ms Mary Seibert's home in Braithwaite LA, stripping it of trim, drywall, tile, and flooring down to the studs. The hall bathroom was cleaned and left intact as it was working. Material was hauled across the street for the parish work crews to pick up. An undisclosed petrochemical had been spilled by the hurricane into the storm surge, so the ground and all surfaces were contaminated, caution was taken.

Team was fed dinner each day by Operation Blessing (700 Club relief organization) who had set up feeding station about 1.5 miles from the work site. Team provided own breakfast at the church and ate at local restaurants for supper. We were able to tour the "English Turn" area (LA 3137 and LA 39), seeing homes of relatives of Ms Mary and others. The area had been totally flooded with my estimate of a 8-9 foot storm surge at our work site, many homes were damaged even more than Ms Mary's with many total losses. Ms Mary gave us her story of her family before, during, and after the flood.

Whitaker and Myrick brought the South District TXC trailer which was used alongside a Louisiana Conference trailer. The West District TXC trailer was taken from Brenham but not used so left in Huntsville, returned afterward to Brenham by Carpenter. The TXC lent a truck to Carpenter, it was picked up, used, and returned to Old River Terrace UMC in Channelview by same.

God please bless the good folk who were affected by and who are recovering from this storm,
Rick Carpenter
Huntsville, East Texas
DDRC, West District, TXC
936.662.7119
Oct 02, 2012

 

Tuesday Sept. 18th update:

  • Rev. Clay Whitaker is delivering a load of cleaning buckets over to Sager-Brown on Monday and requests as many as possible be put together and dropped off to Old River Terrace (see info in link above) UMC.
  • Central North District is challenging all districts to make lots of cleaning (flood) buckets, see below.

Subject: Message from Morris and Scott Moore

Churches of the Central North District:
 As we are well aware, Hurricane Isaac slammed into the Louisiana coast a couple of weeks ago.  As grateful as we are that it didn’t destroy a major populated area like New Orleans, it still caused great damage in more outlying areas.  In fact, UMCOR estimates that some 150,000 homes and families were impacted by this storm.  This is Bishop Cynthia Harvey’s description of the situation in her new conference:  Some areas actually had more damage than with Katrina and because the most extensive damage was not in New Orleans it dropped off the news radar.  There are areas that had flooding that had never flooded!  It was amazing to witness some of the areas we visited and yet still many were impassable 5 days after the storm.  Our biggest challenge will be financial resources to support the recovery efforts.  UMCOR is doing all they can to help raise money but again storms like this become yesterday’s news pretty quickly.  We have appealed to our Louisiana churches for support particularly for our churches and parsonages.  I will be asking for support from the SCJ as well as the whole connection. 
 The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has put out an urgent call for Flood Buckets to aid in the clean up in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac.  These buckets contain items used by homeowners and Emergency Response Teams to begin the clean up process in flooded homes.  They contain simple items like bleach, household cleaners, and trash bags that are vital to begin the process of making a flooded home livable again. When we were in need in our times of distress UMCOR stepped up and helped us through the generosity of other United Methodist Churches around the country.  Now it is our turn to help others. 
The Texas Annual Conference Committee on Relief (TACCOR), in response to UMCOR’s urgent call for assistance, is challenging each district of the Texas Annual Conference to assemble flood buckets to be sent to those in need in Louisiana and Mississippi.  Our goal for the Central North District is a minimum of 300 buckets.  The first shipment of buckets will be delivered to Louisiana on Monday, September 24.  TACCOR is asking every church in the district to participate.  You can find a complete list of the bucket items and how to package them at http://www.taccor.org/floodbuckets.htm.  Since our nearest drop-off location is in Channelview, you can contact the District Disaster Response Coordinators, Scott Moore and Mike Costello, to arrange for your church’s buckets to be picked up and delivered.
Thank you in advance for helping with this urgent need.
If you have any questions please contact Scott or Mike as indicated below.
In Christ,
Scott Moore
Associate Pastor
FUMC-Conroe
smoore@fumc-conroe.org
936-756-3395 Office
936-756-3995 Fax
936-697-2430 Cell
 
Mike Costello
Wildwood UMC
66fj40@gmail.com
(316)644-8635

 

Doris Folser
Administrative Assistant
Central North District of the UMC
6363 Research Forest 
The Woodlands, TX 77381
281/895-7700 (office)
281/895-7705 (Fax)
cndoris@swbell.net
Web Address central-north-district.com

 

Friday Sept. 14th update:

  • Teams are being formed to respond to the Isaac damage in Louisiana.

Sunday morning update:

  • We received word from one of the organizations in Louisiana where partnerships were formed after Katrina. They are working hard to assess needs in each specific community. Once that is done they will begin welcoming in teams to help with the specific projects.
  • The Louisiana Conference is also working on assessments of specific needs. The process is slowed in some areas by remaining flood waters.
  • There is still a need for more flood buckets (directions above for how to make and where they can be dropped off.)

Friday 9pm update:

  • DDRCs began notifying teams today of the request to deploy to Louisiana in October. If you have not heard from your DDRC please contact them.
  • Please make and donate flood/cleaning buckets to TACCOR for distribution to the areas of need.

Thursday 9pm update:

  • We promised to share when we have word from Louisiana, what the needs are going to be.
    • Teams will not be used before October 1st.
    • Teams need to plan to be as self sufficient as possible, at this time there are limited resources for housing incoming teams.
    • Teams need to coordinate their response with their DDRC who will coordinate with the CDRC and Director of ERTs providing Texas Annual Conference teams to the Louisiana Conference
    • Teams should prepare now for deployment on or after October 1st.

Wednesday 10pm update:

  • No new update. We await word out of the affected area about the manpower they need at which point we can activate teams.
  • We do still need more flood/cleaning buckets so please keep making them.

Tuesday 10pm update:

  • No change in status, please see below.

Monday 10pm update:

  • We remain Alert and not Activated. We are awaiting an invitation from the affected areas at which time we can activate teams to respond.
  • Stay tuned here and in touch with your DDRC.

Sunday 10pm update:

  • Things in Louisiana are improving for the survivors. Assessing the damage can begin in all affected areas soon. Until they are finished with assessments they won't be able to define the specific need. It is at that point we will learn specifics of how we can help and when we would receive an invitation to come over and help.
  • Until we are invited to help, we should not be going over on our own.
  • We remain Alert and ready to Activate and provide assistance.
  • Rev. Clay Whitaker reports that Sager Brown is currently delivering cleaning buckets to areas with damage. He will lean soon where the buckets being created now need to go.
  • Please keep up the efforts creating cleaning buckets as they will be used. Please be sure to coordinate drop off so we are aware of what buckets are being created and delivered to the drop off sites. At this time we are aware of the North District's 200 buckets created this weekend.

Saturday September 1st 10pm update:

  • No new news to report at this time. TACCOR stands ready in Alert mode.

Friday the 31st Updates:

10pm update:

  • TACCOR remains alert ready to help when called upon. To date we have not been asked to Activate any teams to respond to needs in the states to our East.

9am update:

  • TACCOR remains alert and ready to assist our brothers and sisters affected by the storm. We have not yet Activated any ERTs to respond yet.
  • TACCOR is conducting the cleaning bucket drive, please see link above for more details.

Thursday the 30th Updates: (updates shown below CRDC statement/update)

Statement from our CDRC:

Isaac is moving beyond its first targeted towns on our coast. As it moves inland, we hear of many agencies preparing to move in with the purpose of bringing aid to survivors. The numbers are staggering and the names are so familiar: Red Cross, Salvation Army, and many religious organizations. The public has no choice but, to accept that thousands will be descending on Southern Louisiana in days and will be hanging out for months. This is the perception that the media finds newsworthy.

I witness something quite different. State and county officials, having been elected by their constituents, are not about to go against the voters needs in favor of a media blitz. Therefore, the option is in favor of survival rather than publicity. Accepting that the surviving population has enough air to breath, the next order of needs would be water, food and shelter. This is why, after First Responders have cleared the area, organizations providing these services are the first to go in with the approval of law enforcement. By VOAD agreement, the Methodist Church steps in to help clean up damage in survivor's homes. Of course, we must wait for an invitation because of that pesky need for infra-structure being sufficient to support our presence.

I am fully aware of the desire to rush in and help those survivors we see portrayed in the media. That is what attracted me to this mission. However, I have learned in my walk with the Lord, that it is not about my need to help others. It is about the survivor and respecting their rights. Because of minds like mine and in order to protect the rights of the community, law enforcement must stand guard protecting against those who would force their own agenda on the survivor. There will always be those who arrive first to be photographed and leave before any actual work can be done. Remember now, all those who rushed in arriving to relieve the suffering? How many remain after the media have moved on to the new story? 

In ERT training I teach that as Methodists we can be first in and last out. This is not a joke. We are assessing before the storm has left; finding out what will be needed beyond water, food and shelter when, law enforcement allows us to enter. Sadly, answering the question from the last paragraph, my experience in Disaster Management testifies that most all have moved on before the task has been completed.  With media, as with many agencies, disaster management is a sprint to get recognition; with Methodists it is a marathon until the last survivor says, thank you.

Respectfully, I will Activate our teams when they ask for us. Be patient in the Lord.

--
Peace and Blessings,
DeWitt Cox
Texas Conference UMC
Disaster Response Coordinator

===============================================================================

10pm update:

  • TACCOR is conducting a Cleaning Buckets drive to help supply those recovering from Hurricane Isaac.
  • TACCOR is still on Alert with no specific Activations yet.

5pm update:

  • UMCOR has requested Cleaning buckets and cash donations
  • TACCOR is still on Alert with no specific Activations yet.

1pm update:

  • UMCOR has requested donations and Cleaning Buckets to aid in the relief efforts beginning in Louisiana. Follow directions on link for creation of and delivery of cleaning buckets to TACCOR, we will get them to those in need. We plan a delivery of buckets donated within the conference to the Sager-Brown Depot on Monday Sept. 3rd.
  • Those who wish to make monetary donations should do so by:
  • TACCOR remains on Alert status, but not Activated. Those who want to help other than as requested immediate above here, please consider clicking on the volunteer link on our main menu from main page and complete the questionnaire. We will be in touch with volunteers as quickly as we can.

9am update:

  • On Alert with no Activations at this point.
  • Isaac continues to blow itself out over land.

Wednesday the 29th Updates:

10:30pm update:

  • Isaac still is spinning rain and high winds on Louisiana. Many in the storm path are without power, some are without running water, many are without internet connectivity, and many more are without the comfort of their own homes right now. We must still wait for the storm to move out of the area before teams in Louisiana can begin assessing the damage and needs.
  • Our conference has made available technical resources to the Louisiana Conference to assist their disaster response coordinator with immediate relief needs.
  • We remain Alert but not Activated at this time. We have offered assistance to the Louisiana Conference.
  • Stay tuned for a statement from our Conference Disaster Response Coordinator tomorrow.
  • We are assessing the need for funds, goods, and supplies and will share details in the upcoming days.
  • Please continue to pray for safety of those in the Isaac's path.

5pm update:

  • We remain on Alert
  • ERT team members should contact their DDRCs to report readiness status
  • For information about open shelters in Texas call 211

1pm Update:

  • TACCOR remains on ALERT without being Activated at this time.
  • Please continue to watch this site for updates.
  • Until the storm moves out of the Gulf Coast area and blows itself out over the next few days we are unable to determine all specific needs. Once that is complete we will begin any needed activations.
  • For those who want to help, please consider cash donations instead of donating goods, and volunteering to assist in recovery efforts. (Volunteers should complete the form at the volunteer link on the main menu of our main page.)

9am update:

  • Hurricane Isaac is expected to make a slow path across Louisiana lashing the areas under the storm with strong winds and copious amounts of rain. This will leave behind damage to property and people.
  • Our CARE team is ready to assist shelters with pastoral care needs.
  • We are praying for our brothers and sisters in Louisiana and at the Sager-Brown Depot.
  • TACCOR remains on ALERT without any Activations at this time.

Tuesday the 28th Updates:

8pm update:

  • Isaac made official landfall around 7:15pm this evening. Thus, we should see a weakening storm and diminishing ongoing threat. That said we are probably not out of the woods for 24-48 hours as the slow moving storm blows itself out. Even then it is likely going to be a rainmaker for some time to come.
  • Several models predict the storm will pass over Northeast Texas.
  • TACCOR is at an Alert state, but we have NOT activated any teams at this point.

5pm update:

  • It appears the New Orleans area will take the brunt of the storm. At the present time it is still a category 1 hurricane so there is plenty of power there to create plenty of damage. The storm will continue inland and that is where Texas could see some bad weather out of Isaac. This would be in the form of rain and wind in the Northeast sections of Texas.
  • Our ERT Director has asked each DDRC to get with all ERT certified individuals in the Texas Annual Conference. If you have been ERT trained and have not heard from your DDRC, please contact them to indicate if you are able to respond to our own conference needs or if/when requested to Louisiana to assist there. If you choose to email the DDRC, please share your most current contact information as well as days you can serve on an ERT. This is very important, please take 5 minutes to complete this task.
  • Those who want to volunteer but who do not yet have an ERT badge may sign up by clicking on the volunteer link on our main page. (Technical issues made linking that page here not possible at the moment.)
  • Shelter information is best obtained by calling 211 in Texas. There are 3 shelters per the American Red Cross App (available for free in the app stores) that are open in Texas.
  • Please follow up on Twitter @taccorcommdir so you will be aware of the newest updates we post here.

 

3pm update:

  • In Louisiana road condition updates available at 511.
  • Texas shelter information available at 211. This is at this time the best way to find shelters as they are keeping track of what shelters are open for new arrivals.

1pm update:

  • Calling 211 in Texas should get folks in touch with the Texas information center where they have a most current list of shelters open for Isaac evacuees.
  • One shelter is Williams Memorial UMC in Texarkana, Texas.

11am update:

  • Isaac is now upgraded to a category 1 Hurricane with winds of 75mps sustained and higher gusts.
  • Also, the American Red Cross has opened shelters in East Texas including one in the DFW area. We will post more on the location of shelters as soon as we can gather an accurate list.

8am update:

  • Although Tropical Storm Isaac continues on a path to strike Southeast Louisiana (generally within 50 miles of New Orleans) some of the models most recently updated take the post landfall storm out over Northeastern Texas. Thus, we can't let our guard down yet.
  • We may not have to deal with the high waves and wind felt on the coast where Isaac makes landfall should the rain come up over Northeast Texas we could have potential for flooding that may call for a response.
  • At this time our teams need to remain aware of the situation and ready to respond within the conference or to neighboring areas if requested.
  • We continue to pray for safety of those in the path of the storm.

 

Monday the 27th Updates:

9pm update

Isaac appears to beginning to better organize from a Tropical Storm into a Hurricane. The central pressure is low and has dropped today. The storm is also slower in its forward movement going NW towards a landfall in the area of New Orleans. What this means, is that the brunt of the storm will likely be in Louisiana. However, we are not out of the woods yet.

All of the Eastern Texas districts need to continue to closely watch the path of the storm, most specifically the path further inland where rainfall could be very heavy.

Once we are sure we have taken care of our own conference we will be ready to participate in relief efforts in Louisiana once we are requested to assist. All volunteers who want to help should contact the appropriate area where you would like to serve.

 

At this time we have NOT activated any ERT teams, Call center teams, CARE teams, or Logistics teams.

We will continue to pray for all those affected by the storm.

2pm update

The most recent update of forecast models indicate a likely landfall near to New Orleans. We still have many hours ahead before landfall and can't let our guard down. Our teams should be ready to be called upon for either work here or as needed if our neighbors to the East invite our response.

A special note, all teams need to remember that we may not show up uninvited to other conferences to help, so please watch for information here about any invite extended for our teams to come East to assist. Next update later this evening as outlined above.

 

From our Conference Disaster Relief Coordinator: (Early Monday Morning update)

This is your official Alert. Isaac has caused TS warnings to go up just east of our SE district; warnings have caused EM to open shelters in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Every four hours will bring new information. Our Communications Director has posted links to satellite and radar imaging maps on our web-site; use them.

Your activity at this time will be to follow the tasks described in the Rescue phase of our new Plan, which by the way is also posted on our site under Documents. For those who are still not familiar with our site, I am asking Communications to send links so each of you might stay connected.

How seriously should you take this? All reports indicate that we will be on the dry-side of this storm with minimal wind issues. One six hour stretch of westerly movement at this juncture will change the predicted landfall by three hundred miles and place the western edge of the cone from Morgan City, LA to High Island, TX. 

Remember when I recommended that DDRC identify the Team (Church) Leaders for ERTs? For those who have done this, now would be the time to contact them and let them know that we are in Alert Mode and they should contact their members. 

What should they say to there members? They should address the team under the possibility that the low lying areas in the Golden Triangle may need attention but, also that our neighbor conference just to the east may need our assistance. No, it is not too early for each member to check out their options. If Isaac tracks slightly west, by the time it hits, it will be too late to check out your options.

To our DDRC in the SE and South, I will stay in close contact until this threat has passed.