Monday, December 12, 2011

Hurricane Isabel

My wife, Barb, and I have just returned from two weeks in North Carolina where we participated in a survey team of 12 people looking to find any households that will need help to recover from Hurricane Isabel which devastated the area in late August.

The area we surveyed is near Aurora, on the south bank, and Belhaven, on the north shore, of Pamlico Sound. The hurricane drove water up the sound, flooding the area. Many homes had water two feet deep, destroying drywall to that level, flooring, furniture, appliances and heating/air-conditioning units.

Sustained winds topping 100 miles per hour ripped off rooves and toppled trees on homes.

There are many poor people in this area, some without insurance on their homes and many with medical challenges. Roughly a quarter to a third of the people are poor because medical bills have taken all of their savings.

The federal government provides assistance, but it is rarely enough to replace all of the necessities that have been lost.

We visited about 4,000 households and found about 200 in dire straits. The information we collected has been turned over to the local Long-Term Recovery Organization so the people there can begin to tap all available resources to meet the needs of the people.

We are blessed beyond our reckoning to live in Canada.

Incidentally, the main employer in Aurora is Potash Corp., digging out marine fossil remains over a huge area of many square miles. Those who have jobs with this Canadian company are faring much, much better than others in the community.