Clean up and ultimate long-term recovery is just beginning in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The death toll from the storm now stands at 110 in the United States.
At the peak of the outages over 8.5 million customers were without electricity. At latest count more than 750,000 customers are still waiting for their power to be restored. Efforts to restore power were set back earlier this week when a nor’easter hit the New England and Mid-Atlantic states, bringing rain, snow and high winds. Tens of thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed. Accurate numbers are not yet available as assessment by the states and the Federal Emergency Management Agency continue.
It is estimated that the costs from the damage will be $33 billion in New York and $50 billion in New Jersey. There will be several more billions in costs in the other impacted states. It is estimated that Sandy will be the second most expensive storm, after Katrina, to hit the United States. States impacted by the super storm include: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina and the District of Columbia.
The response focus is now to assess the damage, return survivors to homes when possible and to find temporary living arrangements for those whose homes are not habitable. At this time many are still in shelters, living in churches, living with family or friends or in motels. Many will soon move to temporary housing provided by FEMA.
While some mass feeding operations are winding down others will continue to operate to feed families and individuals in shelters; those who are in homes without food or cooking facilities; and for the thousands of volunteers arriving to assist with cleanup operations and immediate repairs.
Volunteers are now busy cleaning up: pumping out basements, mucking out flood debris, removing water soaked drywall, treating houses to prevent mold, tarping damaged roofs and doing immediate repairs to make houses habitable as well as removing downed trees and other debris.
In more severely damaged housing, survivors will save what they can and volunteers will help with the demolition that must happen before rebuilding can begin. Soon long term recovery committees will begin to form to help communities organize assistance to those survivors with needs that are greater than insurance and government programs can provide.
CWS Emergency Response Specialists are working with state, regional and local Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, known as VOADS, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, our member denominations and other agencies to determine where CWS denominations are helping and are needed.
We are in daily contact with impacted communities in New York and New Jersey and other states to identify needs and then helping to find organizations — CWS-member communions, other faith based organizations, secular organizations and government agencies — that can provide the needed assistance.
CWS Emergency Response Specialists are also helping potential donors and volunteers learn where to best provide their services and materials. We are also helping CWS church groups get materials (particularly CWS Clean Up Buckets and Kits) shipped to the Brethren Warehouse an New Windsor, MD for redistribution where most needed.
CWS is providing material resources, including blankets, hygiene kits, school kits, baby kits and clean-up buckets to local agencies in four states: New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Total amount of current shipments: $750,369. More shipments are in process, and complete details of current shipments will be provided in the next appeal update, the week of Nov. 12.
A sampling of what CWS communions and partners are doing:
++ The American Baptist Churches has had 64 of its churches damaged in New York and New Jersey. ABC World Relief Office is providing financial assistance to affected congregations to assist with immediate repairs as well as to assist members and others impacted in their communities. ABC teams are also doing downed tree removal.
++ The United Methodist Committee on relief has distributed more than 16,000 of the denomination’s clean up buckets. The Methodists also have deployed disaster teams and a generator team. The teams are doing muck out, debris removal and mold treatment. In West Virginia Methodists are providing material goods to include diapers and baby formula to shelters. UMCOR volunteers are also helping to organize spontaneous showing up to help.
++ Brethren Disaster Response is providing skilled child care at centers in New York and New Jersey. BDR is also doing damage assessments and starting planning for to do home repair and rebuilds as necessary.
++ The United Church of Christ is providing personal protective qquipment (Tyvek suits, goggles, masks and gloves) where requested for cleanup and muck out operations. So far, 1,000 sets have been sent to the New Jersey Community Food Bank for use throughout the state; 1,000 sets to the Adventist Community Services Warehouse in the Bronx (New York City); and 250 sets to the Long Island Council of Churches in Freeport. The UCC has also sent generators to West Virginia.
++The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) through Week of Compassion is providing solidarity grants to local congregations to support immediate needs in their communities. DOC congregations are also assembling and shipping clean up buckets to restock the CWS inventory.
++ The Presbyterian Church (USA) – Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has provided clean up buckets and other supplies to impacted communities. They are also organizing volunteer hospitality centers and assisting with commodity distribution.
++ The Reformed Church in America is assisting with collection and distribution points in New York and New Jersey communities as well as providing volunteers to work in shelters. They are also providing financial assistance to local RCA churches to provide for personal needs.
++ The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America-Lutheran Disaster Response is providing experts to assist survivors with insurance and FEMA paperwork. Local ELCA churches are providing sleeping areas for volunteers and they are providing clean up materials. ELCA churches are very involved in local response and have opened churches as shelters.
++ International Orthodox Christian Charities has shipped two containers of supplies to the impacted area. Supplies include: quilts, hygiene kits, tooth paste and water. More containers are on the way.
++ The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee/World Renew is providing clean up teams and is setting up facilities for volunteers.
++ Mennonite Disaster Services has chain saw, muck out and clean up teams deployed to Staten Island where they are working with the Oasis Christian Center. They also have teams at work in Rhode Island, Connecticut and other states. They are also developing their long term response.
++ Adventist Community Services is involved in receiving, processing and distributing donations in many communities.
++ Local congregations of the above communions and other CWS communions are involved in all impacted states doing debris removal, muck out, downed tree removal; receiving, organizing and distributing materials; supporting feeding and sheltering operations; supporting volunteers and aiding their local communities and survivors. Efforts are under way to fully assess the damage and the planning is starting for future repair and rebuild operations.
++ Also, Catholic Charities, a CWS partner, is involved in several states, especially NY and NJ. Activities include food collection and distribution, supplying sleeping bags and cots to residents. They are also doing needs assessment, case management with families and counseling. Local congregations are providing support in their communities.
CWS also will assist communities in developing Long Term Recovery plans, providing technical and financial support, and providing on site Long Term Recovery training. The lead CWS Emergency Response Specialist for this storm is Joann Hale, firstname.lastname@example.org, (917) 705-3038.
The other CWS Emergency Response Specialists who can be contacted to provide information are:
The Rev Bryan Crousore: email@example.com, (515) 867-0612
Sandra Kennedy-Owes: firstname.lastname@example.org, (251) 725-4262
Kuulei Funn: email@example.com, (808) 226-6432
Total is $618,000. This includes:
- $125,000 for material resources and shipping: ($76,000 for blanket purchase and $24,000 for material resource processing and shipping)
$300,000 for emergency response long-term recovery group grants (projected 60 grants of $5,000/each)
$175,000 for long term recovery group training (12 training events at $14,584/per training)
$18,000 for communications
CONCERNING CLEAN UP BUCKETS: At this time we have depleted our supplies of CWS Clean Up Buckets and when buckets arrive we are shipping them to meets immediate needs. CWS appreciates efforts by supporters to help restock our warehouses with material goods, such as CWS Blankets, Clean Up Buckets, Hygiene Kits, Baby Kits and School Kits.Get more information on various kits that can be compiled and donated to CWS.
How to help:
DONATE NOW: Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be made online or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515 (REF: HURRICANE SANDY APPEAL, U.S., #627-W).
During disaster such as this now is the time to remember that the most important humanitarian donation that an individual can make is cash. Used clothing and other materials do little to restore the dignity of survivors. Remember, financial help is best. If you do have supplies that may be of help contact a CWS Emergency Response Specialist to see if the materials can be used and where.
Church World Service is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.