Here is a letter I got from Dale Kimball, the director of the Epworth Project.
We are heading to NOLA 7 in April.
Greetings from Slidell! Thanks for your prayers, thoughts and support. I apologize for the delay in getting you caught up, but our lives have been a little chaotic and I wanted to give you the best and most accurate information to base your response on. As many of you are aware, Hurricane Isaac came ashore along the Louisiana coast line on the 7thanniversary of Hurricane Katrina. While Isaac was only a category 1 storm and Katrina a category 4, the impact to our community has been significant. The impact a hurricane has on an area has more to do with the angle and direction of impact than category and strength. Isaac’s track into our community was one of the worst case scenarios causing devastating flooding in several major areas. The city of New Orleans, for the most part, received limited wind damage and almost no flooding. This was a testimony to the hard work in building new and better levies. Other areas were not so fortunate. Many of the new levies built to keep the water out of New Orleans appear to have directed the storm surge to new locations. The Northshore, primarily South Slidell, Lacombe and Madisonville received extensive damage. Madisonville and the Lacombe areas were flooded as a result of rising storm surge. Braithwaite, which is a community in St. Bernard Parish, had extensive flooding as well as areas in lower Plaquemines Parish. The newest area to flood was the community and area around LaPlace, Louisiana which is about 25 miles straight west of New Orleans.
Let me start with the Northshore. The local official estimate is around 400 homes flooded in the areas I described on the Northshore. In Slidell they are some of the same areas that flooded in Katrina. While in Madisonville homes that had never flooded before were heavily flooded. In the LaPlace area water inundated hundreds of businesses, churches and homes. Falling tree damage was moderate as was wind damage. Isaac was a very slow moving storm that just kept driving water into Lake Pontchartrain and subsequently, into the coastal communities. Northshore Disaster Recovery / Epworth Project and many of their partners both faith based and civic have been busy in the relief mode since the moment the winds subsided and before the water receded. We have been gutting homes, tarping roofs, cutting trees and providing relief services to those in need. What a blessing to be associated with such loving and caring people. Many of you have called and are awaiting instructions and guidance. I thank you in advance for the peace, comfort and hope you will bring in the months to come.
Let me assure you we are assessing each community and working on a response plan that will allow us to effectively and efficiently use the resources of each and every one who has offered. The greatest of these resources is the volunteer labor. Like all other disasters, volunteers will be the cornerstone of the recovery process. Because of the partnerships and cooperation that NDRI has forged with you over the past 7 years, we are already 2 years ahead of where we were with Katrina. Your faithfulness and trust has ensured that victims will get help faster and more efficiently. Our goal over the next several weeks is to establish a presence in each of the communities affected and use the model for recovery that NDRI / Epworth Project have perfected over the last 7 years. As volunteer teams and organizations you will and must play the pivotal role in our model. We are blessed by the assurance and commitments you have already given us. NDRI / Epworth Project are committed to using its partners and resources to bring about recovery in all of the areas. We have already made an impact on the Northshore and will expand our operations into other areas as resources allow us.
Many of the partners we have had in the past have already committed to NDRI / Epworth Project long term recovery.
If you go to our website:www.epworthproject.com
you will see a list of our partners, a list that with God’s blessing grows daily.
The Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian and United Methodists churches will again be solid partners as well as CRWRC and Christian Public Service.
We will again be partnering with United Way of Southeast Louisiana with a new program for the Northshore called “No Place Like Home”, we are encouraged and excited about the potential of the partnership.
We are already working in cooperation with FEMA, Red Cross and local government.
Many of the major faith based denominations have already committed volunteer teams and financial resources.
The people of Louisiana are incredibly grateful and overwhelmed by your generosity.
The number one question I’ve been getting is: “What are your immediate needs?” We are in the relief mode. The largest needs for organizations operating in the relief mode are volunteers and funding. Please check our website or call us to find out how to provide either resource. By the end of September we will be moving into the long term recovery mode. We currently have no hard facts to base how long the recovery process will take. The greatest needs for long term recovery will be volunteers (are you sensing a common theme?), funding and tools/equipment. We will be putting a list of specific materials, tools and equipment on our website very shortly.
On a personal note, the homes and families of the NDRI / Epworth Project staff fared well. We are all safe and our homes were only minimally damaged. Praise be to God! During the peak of the storm my spirit was calm because I knew you were praying and thinking about us and as powerful as Mother Nature is, she can’t overcome the power of prayer. Today, as I am on the airplane flying to my nephew’s wedding, my heart is warmed by the knowledge that you are still in perpetual prayer for us and are preparing your lives and hearts to respond once again to the needs of your brothers and sisters in Christ.
May God externally reward your efforts!
Dale Kimball, Executive Director
Northshore Disaster Recovery, Inc