Emergency Appeal Update: 2006 Summer Storms

from Church World Service
Published on 07 Sep 2006
September 7, 2006

(This updates information on a 2006 summer storms appeal, last updated Aug. 4.)

Heavy rains this week caused by the remnants of Hurricane John have affected areas throughout Texas and New Mexico, areas that have already seen heavy rainfall over the past month. Some areas have received annual rainfall amounts in just a few days.

El Paso, Texas, and surrounding communities (Socorro, Canutillo and Venton) which had already suffered record levels of rain earlier this summer, experienced nearly a three-inch downpour earlier this week, exacerbating the recovery efforts from earlier flooding. That flooding destroyed 249 single family homes and caused major damage to 455 others. It also destroyed 23 mobile homes and caused major damage to 49 units. Early estimates put damage to private property at $77 million.

Meanwhile, repeated flooding has also affected parts of normally parched desert areas of southern New Mexico, affecting the communities of Hatch, Belen, Rio Rancho, Laguna and Alamogordo. These are predominately poor areas in one of the most impoverished states in the US. Residents find themselves digging out from 4 feet of mud and water in their homes. "This is flooding unlike that which has been seen in years," reports CWS Disaster Response and Recovery Liaison (DRRL) Tom Davis.


CWS Disaster Response and Recovery Liaisons are responding to this series of weather events.

Texas: DRRL Heriberto Martinez is on-site in El Paso and surrounding areas until Sept. 15 in an initial assessment of long-term recovery needs and supporting long-term recovery efforts that are under way. The Rev. Fernando Sanchez, United Methodist Rio Grande Conference Disaster Coordinator for the area (including Juarez, Mexico), is a primary CWS contact.

Meetings for aiding recovery group formation have been held with leadership including Rev. Sanchez; Michael Stadie, who is representing Lutheran Disaster Response; and representatives of Catholic Diocese, Buddhist, Latter Day Saints, Border Interfaith, St Vincent de Paul, Sun City Christian Fellowship, Texas Baptist Men, and Lutheran and Catholic parishes.

New Mexico: Martinez is traveling into flooded areas north from El Paso north to Las Cruces, Hatch and Alamogordo. DRRL Tom Davis will be on-site fostering recovery organization development efforts from Albuquerque south, including special attention to Belen beginning September 13.

CWS sent an initial shipment of 500 CWS Health Kits and 500 lightweight blankets to Rev. Sanchez' offices in El Paso for distribution in both El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where some 40 colonias (around 5,000 families) have been affected by the flooding. UMCOR's Sagar Brown Depot has provided a shipment of 500 Clean-Up Flood Buckets in a partnered response. An additional shipment of 1,300 CWS Health Kits and 1,000 lightweight blankets was shipped this week.

This response is in addition to earlier CWS efforts to assist recovery groups in New York, Ohio and North Dakota from summer storms in those states.

CWS issued this appeal to fund seed grants to long-term recovery organizations and support DRRL deployments to provide community organizing and training assistance.

Long-term recovery organizations facilitated by CWS DRRLs work together to address unmet needs of vulnerable people who do not receive sufficient assistance from existing government disaster assistance programs and personal resources including insurance plans.

Contributions to support these efforts may be sent to your denomination or directly to:

Church World Service
2006 Summer Storms #6290
P.O. Box 968
Elkhart, IN 46515

Contributions may also be made by credit card online, or by calling: 800-297-1516, ext. 222.

Media Contacts:

Lesley Crosson, CWS/New York, 212-870-2676; lcrosson@churchworldservice.org

Jan Dragin (24/7), 781-925-1526; jdragin@gis.net