New Disaster Response Project Opening in Mississippi

Brethren Disaster Response is opening a new Hurricane Katrina recovery project in McComb, Miss., following the holidays. McComb is in southwestern Mississippi, just north of the Louisiana border.

Effective Jan. 1, all volunteers who were scheduled for the Pensacola, Fla., project will be assigned instead to the new Mississippi project. District disaster relief coordinators will be informing volunteers of this change, according to a report from Brethren Disaster Response, a ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board.

Although Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeastern Louisiana, heavy damage can be found within a 100-mile radius of the storm’s center in Mississippi and Alabama as well as Louisiana, said a report from Jane Yount, coordinator of Brethren Disaster Response. The official death toll attributed to Katrina has climbed to 1,836, making Katrina the deadliest hurricane since 1928, her report said. Katrina is also by far the costliest hurricane in US history, with $75 billion in damages. An estimated 350,000 homes were destroyed and many thousands more damaged.

The Brethren will be working in McComb with Southwest Mississippi Recovery Network. “We are thrilled at the prospect of having your folks with us and will do everything to help them be comfortable and productive,” said Judy Powell Sibley, director and chair of the network. “With your coming, I feel a huge burden lifted to help secure the storm affected families in our area.”

Work to be done includes repair of roof damage that has resulted in water-damaged interiors of homes, and the related removal and replacement of walls, ceilings, floors, etc. Black mold is a problem in many homes and will require cleanup. The project may possibly be constructing new homes as well. A Brethren Disaster Response pickup truck, van, and tool trailer will be on site.

For more information about Brethren Disaster Response go to


The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board. Jane Yount contributed this report. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To receive Newsline by e-mail go to Submit news to the editor at For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.


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