USA (MNN) –Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) has been working to help people hit by Hurricane Rita three years ago. After Hurricane Ike, they went right back to assess the damage in Port Arthur and Lake Charles, Louisiana, and other areas.
When they did the assessment, they found at least some encouragement. First, the homes that
they had built in the past few years were still standing strong. "We build with the kind of specifications to resist wind-damage," said CRWRC's Bill Adams.
Secondly, the church that they have just southeast of Houston has minimal damage. The youth pastor's home was not destroyed as they had feared, though it does have about a
foot of standing water.
The clean-up teams that left from Grand Rapids, MI this week arrived in the hard-hit areas with chainsaws, a tractor and other tools. The first job though, is to help local residents form
a recovery organization. Through that, CRWRC helps them understand what the recovery effort will require and assists them as they do their own "case work." This allows neighbors who know the needs in their own community to prioritize who will need assistance first. Assistance may mean rebuilding an entire home or just doing repairs.
Adams explained that often, the more media attention an event gets, the more donations are given. This time, there has been little media hype. "What all of the agencies that do this kind of work, what we've all seen is that since Katrina, the donations have
not been that significant. It's not that they haven't given–people do give. But the demands
are so great, and often the volunteers outstrip the finances. That's probably where our greater difficulty is."
If you can't give, Adams says, pray. "It's hard to relate to it unless you're actually there. So pray for safety for the survivors and for our volunteers," he said.
CRWRC teams come into communities all wearing green shirts. They've been nicknamed the "Green Angels." For those who have endured the same hard hit from a second hurricane, the name is appropriate. "It's why the church does what it does. In fact, these communities where we've been, the people are very down; they're very depressed, as you can
imagine. When they see our people come, it's really encouraging to them. And it's not even just one story. We see this all the time where people know there's hope, and that's really what we do," said Adams.