Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Helps Texans Recover From Flooding
It has been roughly a year of endless flooding for parts of Texas, challenging volunteers in their cleanup efforts. The seriousness of the high water took on new meaning last month with the deadly flooding near Fort Hood that claimed the lives of nine soldiers. Swift flooding swept the soldiers’ 2 1/2-ton vehicle from a low-water crossing. Three soldiers were rescued.
“The challenge is the repeat flooding. When you have a hurricane, it’s usually one and done. It may hit once in an area and then wait another 10 years before it hits again,” said Jim Ellor, state coordinator for floods with the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance National Response Team. “We’ve had one flood after another to the point where we are beginning to name all of our floods based on holidays. There was the Memorial Day Flood, Easter Flood and so on.”
Ellor adds that disaster response groups have been responding as best they can under the circumstances.
“The various volunteer organizations are tired. Most do not have the kind of money to help with the recovery,” he said. “We didn’t get the winter off. Most of the time these kinds of problems happen in the summer. We’ve had one problem right after another since May of 2015.”
“The repeated flood events are challenging the existing resources of volunteers and municipalities,” said Laurie Kraus, PDA coordinator. “Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is grateful for the prayers, gifts, churches and volunteers who are standing in the gap to support these communities and the churches that serve them as they move toward recovery.”
“We’re working to put together some emotional and spiritual care for the Bastrop area, southeast of Austin. The community has been hit multiple times, first with a flood, then a fire, and then flood again,” said Ellor. “It’s the repetition that is really getting to people and putting a squeeze on resources.”
For the impacted church leaders, Ellor said, the crisis has been draining. In some cases, initial discussions have focused on how to provide housing for volunteers, but before anything could be scheduled, more flooding occurred.
PDA has been receiving calls from churches willing to help. “If you’re in Texas, stay safe,” Ellor said. “We are coordinating long-term recovery efforts through PDA’s National Call Center.”
Rick Jones, Communications Strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency
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