North Dakota: Flood Recovery & Faith-Based Groups

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David Myers (left), Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and FEMA Region VIII Administrator Robin Finegan, at a flood-damaged home.
Minot, ND, October 13, 2011 -- David Myers (left), Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and FEMA Region VIII Administrator Robin Finegan, at a flood-damaged home. Myers and Finegan were in Minot meeting with faith-based groups and surveying the damage caused by June's Souris River flooding.

Robin Finegan, Administrator, FEMA Region VIII (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming) and David Myers, Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships were in Minot recently and wanted to provide their perspective on the recovery efforts and vital role of faith-based and community groups.

Below is an update from Robin on the ongoing recovery in Minot:



Historic flooding of the Souris River damaged thousands of homes, businesses, farms, and public facilities across North Dakota, most notably in the town of Minot and in Ward County. FEMA continues to provide assistance to disaster survivors and local governments affected by the flooding and its aftermath.

As winter approaches, FEMA’s main focus is to ensure that residents have a safe, warm place to stay. With housing resources limited in the Minot area, FEMA has brought in more than 2,000 mobile homes for eligible survivors to live in as they restore their homes or identify permanent housing. Work continues to get these units in place, and to move families in as soon as possible.

In addition to providing temporary living arrangements for survivors, we’re also working with Minot residents on winterization of flood damaged homes. Strong partnerships between FEMA and faith-based and community groups are critical as we continue to reach out to all survivors. These community groups are valuable partners before, during and after disasters as they support survivors and communities.

With more specifics on the steps Minot homeowners are taking and the role of faith-based and community organizations, here’s David Myers:
 

The “winterize-ing” that Robin is referring to is a process called “cut and muck” and “button up”. “Cut and muck” means removing the sludge and mud from the basements of damaged homes to minimize freezing during the winter months and cause stress on the home’s foundations. Many -- if not most – of the damaged homes cannot be repaired until spring; that’s where “button up” comes in. This means putting heaters and insulation in basements to prevent freezing and further damage to the structure.

During our visit to North Dakota, Robin and I met with leaders of the voluntary agency community, as well as local leaders from Minot. As with any disaster, the contributions of faith-based and community groups are having a tremendous impact. During the response phase, local National VOAD agencies, along with faith-based groups, stepped up to the many challenges: sheltering, mass feeding, working to ensure the safety of pets, and numerous other response-phase activities. Now these and other groups are taking on the tasks of long-term recovery. The response and recovery even went “international,” with Mennonite Disaster Service teams coming from Canada (beginning a two-year commitment to help), Christian Reform World Relief Committee, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, and others.

Here’s some of their work in photos...

Minot, ND, October 13, 2011 -- FEMA Region VIII Administrator Robin Finegan and David Myers (center), Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, visit with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster President Mickey Caison (left)
Minot, ND, October 13, 2011 -- FEMA Region VIII Administrator Robin Finegan and David Myers (center), Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, visit with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster President Mickey Caison (left) during a meeting with volunteers from the Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota who are helping prepare or "button up" a flooded Minot home before winter. Finegan and Myers were in Minot meeting with faith-based groups and surveying the damage caused by June's Souris River flooding.

FEMA Region VIII Administrator Robin Finegan visits with Dale, a Wisconsin-based volunteer.
Minot, ND, October 12, 2011 -- FEMA Region VIII Administrator Robin Finegan visits with Dale, a Wisconsin-based volunteer helping the Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota clean and "muck out" a flooded Minot home. Finegan was in Minot meeting with faith-based groups and surveying the damage caused by June's Souris River flooding.

David Myers, Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, addresses a Minot Community Organization Active in Disaster meeting.
Minot, ND, October 12, 2011 -- David Myers, Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, addresses a Minot Community Organization Active in Disaster meeting about recovery efforts at Minot's Vincent United Methodist Church. Myers was in Minot meeting with faith-based groups and surveying the damage caused by June's Souris River flooding.

David Myers, Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, stands by the steps and door front remains of a flooded Minot home.
Minot, ND, October 13, 2011 -- David Myers, Director of the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, stands by the steps and door front remains of a flooded Minot home as a Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota volunteer helps prepare or "button up" a home before winter. Myers was in Minot meeting with faith-based groups and surveying the damage caused by June's Souris River flooding.

(Accompanying Robin and David were National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) President, Mickey Caison; Erin Coryell, from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation; Region VIII VAL, Art Storey; and others. Federal Coordinating Officer Deanne Criswell, joined the team, as well as staff members from the North Dakota Senators’ and Representative’s offices who participated in many of the meetings. Several members of the team also met with the Minot Area Community Foundation to discuss aspects of the recovery. )

Last Updated: 
06/16/2012 - 14:16
Posted on Fri, 10/28/2011 - 13:20
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