On Dec. 6, we arrived at 12:30 a.m. and hit the floor running at 7:00 a.m. We had a great day! We teamed up with a team from Westminister, Md. and accomplished a lot of work in a short period of time. The damage here is not as dramatic as you see on TV for New Jersey or New York but it’s still quite traumatizing to those who experienced the storm damage. Photo courtesy of Jim Truitt.
Crisfield ERT Post-Deployment Report | By Jim Truitt
Pacific Northwest Early Response Team members, Eva Kuusinen-Coriveau, Kathy Bryson, Rick Larson, Steve Meacham and Jim Truitt, deployed to Crisfield, Md. from Dec. 6 to 14 to assist with the recovery from Hurricane, aka Super Storm, Sandy. Crisfield is a small fishing town on Maryland’s Delmarva Peninsula just off the Chesapeake Bay. It is reported to be the poorest town in the poorest county in Maryland. The majority of the damage to the 500 homes impacted by the storm came from the tidal surge which deposited up to three feet of water in their homes, twice as the high tides came and went.
The Delaware/Peninsula Annual Conference Disaster Response Coordinator (DRC) was our point of contact and on site coordinator. Asbury United Methodist Church in Crisfield provided housing and three wonderful meals a day. The Virginia Conference loaned the Delaware/Peninsula Conference VIM and ERT trailers with tools and a shower trailer with six showers and two sets of washer/dryer combinations. The housing, meals and tool trailers made it possible for us to respond. Otherwise it would have been too expensive for us to make the trip. Each member of the team agreed to pay their own travel expenses and I agreed to solicit funds to pay our on-site transportation and excess luggage expenses.
We made the trip expecting to “muck out” houses for all six work days. (We worked three days, rested one day, and worked three more days.) As it turned out, the DRC needed our help doing damage assessments more than swinging hammers. We pitched in and did approximately 20 damage assessments and muck out tasks on four houses. Hopefully the assessments will assist the DRC and the local volunteer coordinators with the planning and execution of recovery efforts in the coming weeks. So far, the recovery has been coordinated through a group of local volunteers who have never done disaster recovery. They have a steep learning curve but they are dedicated to helping the community recover.
As we did with the Minot deployments, we have learned from this experience and will fold that into our processes and procedures.
Thanks to all of you who kept us in your prayers while we were on the deployment. It often felt like there were more than five of us on the team.
Jim Truitt serves as the PNW Conference UMVIM Disaster Response Coordinator.