Caribbean: CRWRC readies response to Hurricane Dennis

Kristen DeRoo VanderBerg

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH -- As the Southeastern coast of the US is pummeled by Hurricane Dennis today, the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) is mobilizing to bring immediate aid in the Pensecola, FL, area. CRWRC is already present in Pensecola, an area considerably damaged last year by hurricane Ivan -- and still rebuilding. CRWRC Project Managers, John and Sandra Elsinga, will assess new damage and a CRWRC team of Rapid Response volunteers are prepared to enter the hardest hit areas as soon as the storm clears.

Deadly Hurricane Dennis, which raked its way over Cuba and clipped Hispanola earlier this week, is smashing Florida today with winds of 140 mph and a 10-15 foot tidal surge. It's estimated that a million people on the US coast have received evacuation notice.

In addition to providing immediate emergency aid for Dennis, CRWRC is committed to help disaster survivors throughout long-term recovery. Many families are still rebuilding from last year's hurricanes -- homes and businesses are mid-repair -- with new damage from Dennis imminent. CRWRC expects to be involved in home reconstruction and repair in Florida, and across the Southeasthern seaboard, for several years. Internationally, CRWRC is monitoring field assessments from Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic where national Christian Reformed Churches and staff are already present.

CRWRC-US Disaster Response Administrator, Bill Adams, is in contact with FEMA, National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), and national voluntary aid groups.

Financial support for CRWRC's response in Florida and elsewhere can be given by calling 1-800-55-CRWRC (US), 1-800-730-3490 (Canada), or online at Checks should be made out to "CRWRC," earmarked "Hurricanes 2005," and sent to 2850 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49560 or 3475 Mainway, PO Box 5070 STN LCD 1, Burlington, On, L7R 3Y8.