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Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have been in communication with Brethren districts and churches in Pennsylvania, following the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee. The BDM office is urging individuals who are affected to apply for FEMA assistance in the Pennsylvania counties where they are eligible.
"We have been continuing to communicate and work with Southern Pennsylvania and Atlantic Northeast Districts," reported Zach Wolgemuth, associate director of Brethren Disaster Ministries. "A few churches are responding to local needs or are planning a response in the near future. In Atlantic Northeast, White Oak Church of the Brethren has already helped one of its members gut their home in Manheim, Pa., and in Pine Grove, Pa., the Schuylkill Church of the Brethren has assembled clean-up buckets for local use."
In Lebanon County, Annville Church of the Brethren put together a work day to help clean up flooding that happened in their church building (see following story). In York County, in Southern Pennsylvania District, the York Council of Churches put out a request for volunteers to help do clean-up work and York First Church of the Brethren is planning to respond to the request.
Residents of upstate New York (above) work to clean up following Hurricane Irene. Below, a house in Prattsville, N.Y., which received severe damage in the hurricane and flooding. Photos courtesy of FEMA/Elissa Jun
Congregations are requested to note that a number of counties in the area received a FEMA IA (Individual Assistance) Declaration, which means that individuals and families affected by flooding there may apply for assistance from FEMA.
Individuals in these counties who have sustained damage can apply for assistance through FEMA and should do so immediately, Brethren Disaster Ministries staff said. Volunteers helping with clean up can continue to do so, but before repairs are made to homes those persons living in the IA-declared counties should register with FEMA.
The FEMA IA (Individual Assistance) Declaration has been approved for the following counties: Adams, Bradford, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union, Wyoming, and York Counties.
Individuals applying for assistance should log on to www.fema.gov/assistance/index.shtm .
In related news:
Church World Service (CWS) is appealing for donations of 10,000 Emergency Clean-up Buckets for distribution to people affected by Hurricane Irene, from North Carolina to New England. In a recent press release, Bert Marshall, CWS regional director for New England, points out that many of the people in communities that now are receiving CWS relief supplies have been among the most generous donors of Emergency Clean-up Buckets and other supplies in the past. "Some of these buckets, people might even recognize coming back," said Marshall. CWS has been distributing supplies to people made homeless by flooding in places like Brattleboro, Vt., the release noted. Those wishing to help by donating Emergency Clean-up Buckets can find instructions and a list of bucket contents at www.churchworldservice.org/buckets .
The Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) has made a grant of $20,000 in response to a CWS appeal following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irene. The money will support the work of CWS in providing cleanup buckets, hygiene kits, baby kits, school kits, and blankets in communities affected by the disaster, and will support the work of CWS to assist communities in long-term recovery development.
An EDF grant of $5,000 supports the work of Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers serving in upstate New York following flooding caused by Hurricane Irene. Seven volunteers have been working in the Binghamton Shelter on the State University of New York campus, reports associate director Judy Bezon. "Word is that the shelter population will decline more slowly than usual, as one major low-cost housing area in an inner city neighborhood is almost destroyed, and a number of the residents are in the shelter," she said.
Staff of the church’s Material Resource program, which warehouses and ships disaster relief materials out of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., have been busy with shipments in response to Hurricane Irene. Cleanup buckets, hygiene kits, school kits, and baby kits went to Waterbury, Vt., Manchester, N.H., Ludlow, Vt., Brattleboro, Vt., Greenville, N.C.,
Hillside, N.J., and Baltimore, Md. A total of 3,150 cleanup buckets were included in these shipments. The available supply in New Windsor is less than 50 at this point, reported director Loretta Wolf in a staff newsletter today.
For more about the Church of the Brethren’s disaster relief programs go to www.brethren.org .