New Hurricane Threats and Funding Shortfall Delay Project417 New Orleans Mission

Mold marks calendar in flooded Gettridge home Aug. 29th, the date Katrina hit.

Mold marks calendar in flooded Gettridge home Aug. 29th, the date Katrina hit.

An update for Andy’s Project417 mission partners – As you might know, in addition to our work with the homeless here in Toronto, Project417 has been providing Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief in New Orleans since 2005. Between the week following Katrina in September, 2005 and November 2006, Project417 Executive Director Joe Elkerton and Andy Coates have been in New Orleans several times, from short two week missions to an extended stay by Andy from April to October of 2006, serving in disaster relief programs and heading up home re-building / recovery teams.

Since that time, several appeals by Project417 for funding of another home renovation mission to re-build houses destroyed by the flooding have fallen on deaf ears. Most people assume that this long after Katrina the city is not in any immediate need of relief. To the contrary – hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed and many have not yet received any U.S. federal or state funding. Less than half the former residents are able to return.  In addition, of the hundreds of millions of dollars donated to some organizations, during Katrina, the majority of those funds left New Orleans when the immediate disaster was over, deposited in general funds until the next emergency, not to be used to help New Orleans as many donors intended.

Project417’s missions to New Orleans are of a small, grassroots nature and simply help local families rebuild their flood ravaged homes. More than 25 Toronto area volunteers have joined Andy and Joe on six separate occasions to help rebuild. One of those we helped, Mr. Herbert Gettridge of the Lower Ninth Ward of Orleans Parish, New Orleans, is the subject of an upcoming public televsion documentary on PBS Frontline, The Old Man and the Storm, by acclaimed producer June Cross (Watch it Jan. 6th, 2009 at 9PM, check local listings) telling the Gettridge family story of survival and recovery assited by volunteers from across North America, including Project417. Another we helped with a team from Heart Lake Baptist Church in Brampton, Mrs. Aline Dastague of Lakeview, is over 90 years old and was living in a retiremnt home while her home sat destroyed by the failure of the Canal Street Levee.

Andy was scheduled to go to New Orleans for the recent Labor Day weekend and take part in the August 29th Katrina Memorial events and visit Mr. Gettridge, to prepare for a planned November short-term mission to re-build more homes. But donations fell far short of the $1500 goal to fund the trip, although several long time supporters sent generous last-minute cheques. And then new hurricanes threatened New Orleans. Hurricane Gustav forced the evacuation of New Orleans and much of Louisiana, news covered here at the Missionlog, and threats from tropical storm Hanna, and Ike, and Josephine, so the trip has been delayed. Although Gustav was downgraded to category two and only glanced by New Orleans, the levees held and residents have received the return home notices, power is out for over a million people and there still was some serious flood damage from the hurricane borne torrential rains.

As soon as power is restored to the area and Project417 donations reach our modest goal, Andy will visit to assess the new damage, update recovery needs and finish preparatory planning for the November mission. Visit Project417 today to see how you can help or join the mission.

|| Visit Project417 Online ||

UPDATE – January 5, 2009 – Andy has returned from two disaster relief trips to Galveston County, Texas for Hurricane Ike in San Leon, Texas – helping families rebuild their huricane ravaged homes. Vist Project417 to volunteer for the next trip. Returning from the most recent Texas trip, Andy visited Mr. and Mrs. Gettridge in their New Orleans home and made plans with Mr. Gettridge to set up a trust fund to build two new homes on property in the Lower Ninth ward owned by the Gettridge family.

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3 Responses

  1. […] For more information, read “New Hurricane Threats and Funding Shortfall Delay Project417 New Orleans Mission.” […]

  2. […] New Hurricane Threats and Funding Shortfall Delay Project417 New Orleans Mission […]

  3. So, as you know I’m holding a dinner/dance on October 25th, which I hope to be able to raise funds for Project 417. Despite being involved with several other charities I decided to on Project 417 because I believed the limited funds we were able to raise would be able to have the most impact on your organization.

    Did you know that I am also a Red Cross employee/volunteer?? I was a bit disappointed to read the comment in your blog about what Red Cross did with Katrina donations.
    I’m not sure whether the comments were based on investigative research or personal observation.
    The comment…
    “In addition, of the hundreds of millions of dollars donated to the Red Cross, for example, during Katrina, the majority of those funds left New Orleans when the immediate disaster was over, deposited in Red Cross general funds until the next emergency, not to be used to help New Orleans as many donors intended.”
    …seems to be irresponsibly made, as I’m not sure that you or your readers fully understand the role that Red Cross has in a disaster or how or for what purposes funds get distributed. You’re statement implies that Red Cross was irresponsible or misleading with the funds that were donated.
    Now…I understand that in the scope of the type of work that you have been doing down south Red Cross probably did not have the same visability or lend the same kind of support that you were doing after the initial impact of the storm.
    I understand the the situation in New Orleans and surrounding areas was and is dire and continues to be vulnerable to storms, there is much work that has been and no doubt still needs to be done however it is also important to recognize that not all NGO’s have the same mandate or function and some such as the Red Cross are limited by the mutual aid agreements they have the municipality, state or country they reside in.

    In fact the Red Cross once it reached it’s target for Katrina, told the public they were no longer accepting donations earmarked for Katrina and encouraged them to donate to other organizations providing relief.

    I’d be happy to inform you a bit more in regards to the role of the Red Cross during a disaster if you are interested but…
    It might be a good idea in the future, even if you believe your statements to be true, to refrain from negatively naming specific organizations for you may do some damage to partnerships that could be built down the way (like nice people trying to raise money for you!).
    I absolutley support and encourage the work that you are doing with Project 417 but It’s not cool to put down one so you can better promote another.

    Thanks

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