Hurricane recovery requires time, money, relief workers say
By Joretta Purdue*
Marion Edwards (center, cap) prepares to lead a team of United
Methodists and others on a visit to the village of Hatteras, N.C.
Hurricane Isabel created an inlet that cut the village off from the rest
of Cape Hatteras. Edwards leads the United Methodist Church's Raleigh
(N.C.) Area. A UMNS photo by Bill Norton. Photo number 03-309,
Accompanies UMNS #458, 9/25/03.
No Long Caption Available for this Story
trees and power lines were common in Baltimore and other East Coast
cities after Hurricane Isabel. Massive power outages left thousands of
people without electricity. A UMNS photo by Melissa Lauber/UMConnection.
Photo number 03-311, Accompanies UMNS #458, 9/25/03
No Long Caption Available for this Story
WASHINGTON (UMNS) - Recovering from the devastation
of Hurricane Isabel will take time, work and money, say United
Methodist leaders in the hardest-hit areas.
The storm came ashore
Sept. 18 in North Carolina and wreaked havoc along the East Coast. At
least 36 people were killed, and President Bush declared North Carolina,
Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia disaster
"It's a devastated place," said Bishop Marion Edwards of
the church's Raleigh (N.C.) Area, after visiting the village of
Hatteras, N.C., by boat Sept. 23. "Many of the homes and businesses have
been completely wiped out or moved off their foundations. Some have
disappeared into the ocean."
The hurricane created a waterway
that cut off the village from the rest of Cape Hatteras. People were
without utilities until the state brought generators from the mainland.
Water supplies were limited, and many homes and businesses were
destroyed or damaged.
The Rev. Charles Moseley, pastor for a
three-point charge, was in the village of Hatteras, where one of his
churches is located. He told reporters that he was wearing his last
clean underwear and had no means of doing laundry, since the village was
without water and power.
Another pastor elsewhere on the cape
decided she could address that need. The Rev. Susannah Fitch-Slater and
members of St. Johns United Methodist Church in Kinnakeet, Va., arranged
to do laundry for Hatteras residents. An area of the Hatteras United
Methodist Church is designated for dropping off bagged dirty laundry and
another area is designated for pickup. The laundry is transported by
The bishop, with North Carolina Conference disaster and
mission workers, visited Hatteras on a three-day tour of hard-hit areas.
The day before, they were in Swan Quarter, N.C., where Edwards noted
that most of the homes and three of the eight United Methodist churches
in surrounding Hyde County had been flooded.
Methodist Church in Swan Quarter had just completed extensive renovation
after Hurricane Floyd's flooding in 1999. The congregation had one
service in the new sanctuary before Hurricane Isabel struck, flooding
the first floor.
"We have a well-organized North Carolina
response team in place," Edwards said. He added that the conference
learned from Hurricane Fran in 1996 and later Floyd.
Bishop Joe Pennel of the Virginia Area also praised his conference's disaster team.
have widespread destruction," he reported Sept. 23. "A lot of it is
insurable - that is to say, trees and houses and things of that sort.
The people who are suffering the most are people who did not have
insurance. The poor are hit the hardest.
"We still have a large
number of people without electricity, and water has become the big issue
because the water is polluted. People are having to find ways to get
water to drink."
A tree, about three feet in diameter, fell
across the office used by the Rev. Tommy Herndon, Portsmouth (Va.)
District superintendent. He said a crane would remove the tree after the
insurance adjuster viewed the destruction. "There were thousands and
thousands of trees down," he said.
"We had church (services) at
almost all of our churches Sunday," Herndon said. Many of the buildings
were dark, so services were held outdoors or in areas with windows.
Robinson in Poquoson, Va., said the two United Methodist churches there
had extreme water damage. Trinity United Methodist Church, where she is
a secretary, had just completed a $1 million addition and renovation
last year. Tabernacle United Methodist, where she worships, had about 6
inches of floodwater in its sanctuary, offices and first-floor
"My own home was destroyed by the floodwaters, but
the sight of our church really did me in when I went for services on
Sunday," she said.
United Methodist Committee on Relief workers
are helping conference officials assess the needs of people in areas
most affected by the storm. UMCOR is processing emergency grants in
response to requests from the North Carolina, Virginia,
Baltimore-Washington and Peninsula-Delaware annual conferences.
agency is receiving money for the hurricane relief through "Hurricanes
2003," Advance No. 982438. Check donations can be made out to UMCOR,
designated for either advance and placed in the offering plates or sent
to UMCOR, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 330, New York, NY 10115. Credit card
donors can call (800) 554-8583, and online donations can be made at
Volunteers can contact UMCOR at (800) 918-3100. # # # *Purdue is a United Methodist News Service news writer.