USA

Church World Service - Hurricane Relief Update

Format
Assessment
Source
Posted
Originally published
Church World Service Emergency Response Program
Account #6273 $300,000

Situation

Six-months after four major hurricanes -- Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne -- and tropical storm Bonnie -- wreaked havoc in the state, Floridians still face challenges rebuilding their lives and homes. During a grueling six-week period, beginning August 12, 2004, the five systems caused 130 fatalities and an estimated $60 billion in damage to the state. No state has sustained similar devastation from natural disaster in such a short period time in more than 100 years.

Ten thousand homes were completely destroyed, at least 120,000 residents were displaced, and as many as 60,000 residents are still in need of permanent housing across the state. Although the immediate disaster-related fatality figure was 130, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has since assisted more than 3,000 families in paying for funeral services in the weeks and months following the storms.

Florida's agricultural sector took a major blow losing nearly 20 percent of its citrus crop production, and some counties reporting entire loss. The widespread crop destruction also impacted the lives of more than 25,000 farm laborers.

Seventy Florida counties received federal disaster declarations and more than half of those counties were declared twice. More than 1.2 million Florida residents have applied for federal assistance due to the hurricanes.

Vulnerable Communities Watch:

Economic Impact

  • Farm laborers, fishing industry workers, and people working in the tourism-industry lost jobs. With limited unemployment assistance, they will require additional resources to get back on their feet.

  • Many economically vulnerable households were affected, including culturally diverse families; elderly on fixed incomes; families with young children; and uninsured households -- in many cases a combination of these groups.

  • 8,402 households received FEMA's maximum repair grant ($5,100). In most cases, this grant only goes so far to repair damage wrought by the storms. These families will likely need additional resources to fully repair their homes and replace lost necessities.

  • 759 households received FEMA's total maximum grant ($25,600)-- the absolute maximum financial assistance a family can receive from the federal government. In most cases, families that receive this grant have lost everything, have no additional resources, and are usually unable to qualify for loans to rebuild a home or replace belongings lost in the hurricane. These families may still require more extensive outside resources to restore their lives.
Church World Service Response

Miami-based CWS Disaster Response & Recovery Liaison (DRRL) Lesli Remaly has served as the mainstay of the CWS DRRL response in Florida since August 12, 2004, focusing on the eastern and central counties. DRRL Lura Cayton assisted the faith-community in organizing for long-term recovery in the Florida Panhandle, and DRRL Tom Davis worked in western and central Florida counties. DRRLs Joanne Hale, Cherri Baer, Dan Grimes, and Tim Johnson have also assisted community organizing in the state. The DRRLs continue to assist with planning strategies, training, and channeling of resources for long-term recovery.

There are at least 30 groups organized for long-term recovery, many of them will address needs for the next 2-5 years. Three-fourths of them have implemented both case management and volunteer coordination programs. So far, CWS has provided seed grants to thirteen groups totaling nearly $68,000. Nineteen more groups are expected to request seed grants.

Two groups CWS has supported Florida Interfaith Networking in Disasters (FIND) and Central Campesino -- have worked in Florida disasters since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Both groups have been integral in this response. FIND keeps the faith-community connected in non-disaster times with on-going programs in preparedness and response planning. Centro Campesino is the lead agency working with farm workers and their families, and is important in providing CWS with entrée to many Spanish-speaking communities in Florida.

"We've made great strides in Florida," says Remaly. "The commitment of the faith-community and its many partners is strong. Skilled construction estimators and needs assessment personnel continue to be a major need. There are thousands of vulnerable families whose homes need to be rebuilt or repaired. They can't afford skilled laborers. Churches have volunteers ready for repairs, but initial contract work is lacking. Also, more funding is needed for building materials."

Material Resources for Florida

Several CWS shipments of "Gift to the Heart" Kits and Blankets were sent to assist relief efforts in Florida -- 1,920 School Kits and 100 "Kits for Kids", as well as 1,200 Health Kits, 360 Baby Kits, and a total of 3,400 CWS Blankets, a total value of more than $50,000.

Spiritual and Emotinoal Care Resources

CWS Interfaith Trauma Response Training has conducted eight workshops for some 175 clergy and caregivers in Florida. The training is designed to reinforce pastoral skills for dealing with victims, congregations, and communities in catastrophic events, and awareness of self-care to avoid burn out/fatigue over the long haul. Two additional ITRTs are scheduled for the Florida Panhandle April 14 and 15.

Overall CWS Assistance for the 2004 Hurricane Multi-State Response

Seed grants: an estimated $232,500 will be distributed to 49 long-term recovery groups in eight states; Interfaith Trauma Response Training (ITRT): $55,000; training for 15 communities in Florida; "Gift of the Heart" Cleanup Buckets, School Kits, Health Kits and Blankets: 15 tons valued nearly $300,000; On-going DRRL deployments may be necessary through May 2005.

Your Support Needed:

The need for financial resources is ever increasing as disaster survivors exhaust limited federal assistance and insufficient insurance monies they may have received.

Continued funding for this appeal throughout 2005, will help sustain community based recovery efforts and additional work of CWS and its partners in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Contributions to support
2004 U.S. Hurricane Relief may be sent to your denomination or directly to:
Church World Service 2004 U.S. Hurricane Relief #6273 P.O. Box 968 Elkhart, IN 46515
Contributions may also be made by credit card by calling: (800) 297-1516, ext. 222, or online at www.churchworldservice.org.

For more information about the work of Church World Service, please visit www.churchworldservice.org or call the CWS Hotline, (800) 297-1516.