Home Emergency Response An Update on the Mudslide in Snohomish County

An Update on the Mudslide in Snohomish County

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By Patrick Scriven | Director of Communications & Young People’s Ministry

Bishop Grant Hagiya asks all United Methodists to join him in prayer for those impacted by this weekend’s mudslide in Snohomish County. “There will be a time to act and respond with whatever help we can offer. For now, let us hold all those who have lost much, and those engaged in responding, in our thoughts and prayers.”

For now, let us hold all those who have lost much, and those engaged in responding, in our thoughts and prayers.” – Bishop Grant Hagiya

Disaster response typically has three stages, response (local authorities – police, fire, ambulance, search & rescue), relief, and recovery. With the response to the mudslide near Oso still in the first stage, our Early Response Team is in a holding pattern until the area is declared safe to enter.

Puget Sound District Superintendent Daniel Foster has been in contact with Jim Truitt our Disaster Response Coordinator. Jim has already been in touch with state, county and local authorities to inform them of the services and assistance our teams have available at the appropriate time. His email sent this morning to our trained ERT’s is copied below.

We’ll update this post as more information becomes available.

Update 3/26/14 at 15:08

From Jim Truitt, UMVIM Early Response Team Coordinator for the PNWUMC.

Here’s what I know as of this morning:

  • Mother Nature still seems to be doing what she does best and is taking care of things herself. The river has cut a new channel, the water is flowing in a well-behaved manner and has rejoined the riverbed down stream. This dramatically reduces the probability of a catastrophic release of water and consequent flooding.
  • They are still calling this the rescue/recovery phase while they look for survivors and those that didn’t make it.
  • As we have seen in almost all disasters, there are more unaffiliated volunteers (SUVs) than the communities can handle.They turned away many of them yesterday and have put roadblocks on the roads leading into Darrington, Wash. Only registered and specialized volunteers are being allowed in the slide area.
  • There have been no requests for Early Response Team-type assistance. Based on the information I have from the media, emergency agencies, and people on the ground in Arlington and the VOAD, it is unlikely we will be asked to send ERTs into the area.
If we are asked to respond, it will not be any time soon. I know you are anxious to help. So am I. But, they don’t need our support right now. They need people with search and rescue training, heavy equipment operators, chain saw operators, and dog teams.
Ok, so you and I can make a donation right? Yes we can. Please make it a monetary donation and not clothing or household goods. As we often see donations of goods are already creating a problem.

The survivors and those affected by the slide need money for the essentials of life – food, gas, utility bills, lodging, etc. They don’t need a toaster right now.

You can make a donation to the PNW Disaster Relief Fund by sending a check to:

PNW Conference Treasurer
P.O. Box 13650
Des Moines, WA 98198

If you want your donation to be used only for this event, put “PNW Disaster Response Advance Special #352″ on the memo line.

Please keep all of those impacted by the mudslide in your prayers.

Update 3/25/14 at 19:08

No one is unaccounted for from Darrington UMC. As you might expect in a small town, most know folks who are.

Update 3/25/14 at 10:48

If you would like to make a donation please send your gifts through your local United Methodist Church with “PNW Disaster Response Advance Special #352” in the memo.

Please note that there is no current need for donated goods. Please do not plan to send or drop off such items at this time.

Your local church will work towards ensuring that individual gifts are recognized (i.e. end-of-the-year statements) as it reaches the PNWUMC Treasurer’s Office.

For local United Methodist Churches, please send your gifts to:

Conference Treasurer
P.O. Box 13650
Des Moines, WA 98198
Memo: PNW Disaster Response Advance Special #352

Update 3/24/14 at 3:42pm

There will be a prayer service for those affected by the at 7 p.m. tonight at Arlington United Church.

Update 3/24/14 at 3:08pm

No members of the Arlington Church have been reported missing to the knowledge of the church. Some members live very close to the effected area and have been evacuated due to the dangerous conditions. Prayers have been requested even as the church considers ideas for they will do to help their community.


Subject: Alert – Potential Catastrophic Flood Update

Here’s what I know as of this morning:

  • Mother nature seems to be doing what she does best and is taking care of things herself. The river has topped the mudslide dam and is cutting a new channel. The water is flowing in a well behaved manner and has rejoined the river bed down stream. This dramatically reduces the probablility of a catastrophic release of water and consequent flooding.
  • No homes downstream of the mudslide have been damaged thus far. Upstream there are 7 homes with water up to the eaves.
  • The town of Darrington is cut off from the outside world. There is no road access, communications are down, and I’m not sure about power. Direct access to the town of Darrington is more difficult but can be achieved via Route 20 from the north.

Here’s what I’ve done in addition to notifying you:

  • I have sent emails to the pastors at Arlington, Stanwood and Darrington to let them know we are available when they need us. I have not heard from any of them so far.
  • I have notified the Washington State VOAD and EOC that we have ERTs available when needed. The VOAD will work with the Snohomish County EOC to determine what support they need and when. Our partners on VOAD are communicating with each other to make sure we all know what we’re doing or can do. I’ve had an offer from Catholic Community Services to join forces for muck-out and clean up if needed.
  • I have kept George Abrams and Stan Norman informed so the Disaster Response Team is fully aware of our actions.
  • I have talked to Rev. Daniel Foster, the Puget Sound DS, and informed him of our actions thus far.

There’s not much we as ERTs can do right now. We can’t respond until the Emergency/rescue phase is over and they say it’s safe to enter. Looking at the pictures of the landslide, it appears it will be quite some time before 530 is open to traffic. In the meantime, I encourage you to be prepared to respond on short notice.

Please keep all of those impacted by the mudslide in your prayers.
Jim


Photo Credit: Some rights reserved by Flickr User WSDOT.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for updating this. Correct- I have friends in Darrington and there is access as Roger stated. It’s just not convenient. Keep the prayers coming, not only for the victims, but also the first responders.

  2. […] Bishop Grant Hagiya called for prayers after the disaster. The conference has asked churches to start collecting monetary donations for those who lost possessions and homes in the mudslide. The Rev. L. George Abrams, co-coordinator of the conference’s disaster response team, is evaluating the need for a long-term recovery committee. […]

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