Disaster Recovery – Northwest Florida

Disaster Recovery Northwest Florida (Walton)

Return to this entry after your trip to share experiences.

Contact:  Gabe Tischler, Catholic Charities of Florida
    Emergency Management Specialist

Email:  gtischler@flacathconf.org 

Phone: 850.443.2996

Website:  http://waltonltro.org/ or  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hammers-and-Hearts/183369785108668   or  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Catholic-Charities-of-Florida/478765615546909

The Disaster Event:  Tropical Storm Andrea came ashore in Northwest Florida on July 2, 2013.  It brought heavy winds and rain as far inland as Washington county.  For the next three days, the storm produced record rainfall in Washington, Bay and Walton Counties, with Washington County receiving close to to 20 inches of rain in less than 48 hours.  The large amount of rainfall caused flooding throughout the three counties.  The heavy winds broke branches off of trees, causing roof damage to homes.  As the ground became more saturated by the continuous rains, trees began to fall over, creating further damage to homes.  To date over 40 inches of rain has been recorded in the City of Vernon in Washington County.  County Emergency Management began receiving calls from homeowners who sustained damages to their homes, and 150 homes have been identified in the three counties, as needing assistance with repairs.  FEMA is not providing any individual assistance to disaster survivors, therefore all of the recovery efforts are handled by faith-based organizations.

Project/Focus:  Repair/Rebuild homes.  Roofing in Washington county is pertinent.  Gutting homes, replacing insulation, sheet rock repair and painting, flooring and other interior work also needed.

Educational/Advocacy Components:

  • Preparation for the trip: “Mission Trips That Matter” by Don C. Richter, Upper Room Books
  • On-Site Reflection:  Meeting God in the Ruins: Devotions for Disaster Volunteers” Free copies may be ordered from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America by calling 800.638.3522 ext. 2580 (ISBN 6-0001-6788-1); pay shipping only.
  • Follow-Up Action:  Help your local community prepare for possible disaster and response.  Be sure your congregation has a plan in case of local disaster (View sample plan).  Get to know your UCC Conference Disaster Coordinator and stay involved.

Time:  Arrive Sunday afternoon and depart Saturday morning.  Work Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Work is expected to continue through June 30, 2013.

Accommodations:  Housing for groups provided at local churches in one of the three counties; this is arranged through  Hammers and Hearts.  Cots and kitchen access provided.  Groups bring own bedding and prepare own meals.  (Some meals maybe provided by local churches.)  Showers, bathrooms, and lounge room for meetings available in church buildings.

Cost:  $10/day/person or $50/week/person.  Costs for case management, building materials, tools, and construction supervision provided through the local long-term recovery committee.  Your donations to UCC One Great Hours of Sharing® help make possible the local work of the Long-Term Recovery Committee.

Minimum Age:  18 years for roof-work; 16 years for interior and groundwork.

Group Size:  50 Maximum 

Adult to Youth Ratio:  1:8  Each group should include a ration of at least 18 of skilled construction persons able to coordinate and teach others for each group.  Long Term Recovery committee provides general Construction Coordinator and materials through Hammers and Hearts who will provide construction and volunteer scheduling, coordination and housing arrangements in Walton, Washington or Bay County.

Time:  November 3, 2013 through March 2014

Tools:  Groups should bring standard carpentry tools (hammers and cordless screw drivers, etc.) No special tools will be required.  A majority of the work will be done on mobile homes.  Specific questions can be directed to Hammers and Hearts the Volunteer Coordinators upon registration.