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USA: Hurricane Ike recovery "only half done" in Galveston

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AUGUST 26, 2009-While Hurricane Bill sent sea waves crashing over the Northeastern coastline last weekend, disaster response director Bill Adams's mind is on different storm track-the Gulf Coast. In the coming weeks, hundreds of volunteers will begin the Fall rotation into Galveston, Texas, to continue reconstruction there after Hurricane Ike hit in 2008.

"A year ago, we estimated that CRWRC would need $1 million to respond to damage caused by Ike in Southeast Louisiana and along the Texas coast," Adams said. "My visit to the Galveston area last week confirms that long-term reconstruction needs in Texas are still huge." Adams said that the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (www.crwrc.org) will continue to look for ways to fund reconstruction in Texas despite the downturned economy.

Since September 13, 2008, CRWRC has raised about $250,000 for hurricane response, including Ike. Adams says that many faith groups are pulling out of Texas due to lack of resources, which were already stretched as they have continued to respond to Katrina, Rita, and Ike since mid-2005.

CRWRC's Hurricane Katrina response, which is nearing the four-year mark, has involved 1,750 volunteers and $5.4 million in donated funding for direct family and community recovery. While CRWRC expects to continue its efforts in New Orleans through 2011, the needs in Southeast Texas remain.

The funding deficit will leave the most indigent of Ike's survivors in Texas without any help. CRWRC-DRS focuses on the neediest of disaster survivors-those without insurance or who are low-income, elderly, handicapped, or otherwise unable to access government or private assistance. Adams says that while the number and magnitude of natural disasters in the U.S. in the last four years has been unusual, CRWRC-DRS has 2,000 trained volunteers who will continue to provide emergency services to disaster survivors in Texas and across North America.

"We will be faithful to the survivors of Hurricane Ike, and to those on the Coast who also survived Hurricane Rita in 2005," Adams says. CRWRC partners with the Southeast Texas Interfaith Organization (SETIO), Hope Christian Reformed Church in Houston, and other denominations such as Lutheran Disaster Response and the United Methodist Church (UMCOR).

"It's not only what we do," Adams says, "it's part of who we are."

CRWRC is requesting financial donations to continue to fund up to $1 million for Hurricane response. Gifts designated "Hurricanes 2008" can be given online at www.crwrc.org or phoned in to 1-800-55-CRWRC. Designated checks can be mailed to CRWRC, 2850 Kalamazoo Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49560-0600.

Members of the Press wishing to arrange an interview with Bill Adams can call cell 616-560-2872 or Beth DeGraff at cell 616-648-7821.

For more information about CRWRC Disaster Response Services and current activities on the Gulf Coast, in North America, or internationally, go to www.crwrc.org and click on the Projects Menu.

CRWRC is a Christian non-profit agency of the Christian Reformed Church in North America that ministers in development, relief, and justice education with people in need around the world, since 1963.