Hurricane Ike Volunteer Relief in San Leon, Galveston County

Project417 Hurricane Ike Relief Update – October 16th, 2008
Hello Project417 supporters. As you know I just returned for a short term mission trip to Texas to help out the survivors of Hurricane Ike in Texas. I was a volunteer with the Houston Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services and served in the Houston Gulf Coast region – Pasadena and San Leon Texas, from Sept. 25th to October 10th.

The damage in coastal Texas is very severe. The devastation and aftermath I witnessed are equal and sometimes worse than the damage from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The media in the U.S. have had a difficult time getting the news out, being overshadowed by the election and economic meltdown. Notwithstanding, the people of Texas need our help. Especially the town of San Leon, Texas where I served. I also heard from other members of the team stationed in Galveston that the damage is in some cases unimaginable. One Army Corps of Engineers specialist I spoke with compared the damage there as equal to what Katrina visited on Biloxi, Mississippi – the storm surge has wiped the coast clean in many areas, only slab foundations left.


After three days helping at the Salvation Army Incident Command Center in Pasadena, I was assigned to help with three other people from Mississippi and Virginia, on a mobile canteen truck serving hot meals. I served about twelve hundred meals a day to the people of San Leon, who still had no electricity, and in many cases no homes, for a total of 12,000 meals for ten days. Our Pasadena group of five or six canteens served more than six thousand meals a day. There are multiple Incident commands in the Houston area, including Galveston and Louisiana, and the total number of meals served to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike survivors from Salvation Army canteens is more than 1.8 million. This is in addition to Red Cross canteens who also roam the area, as well as numerous church kitchens and independent relief organizations like the Southern Baptists and many others. The church has responded to the call for help.
I’ll certainly be posting more stories of perseverance and survival from the people of Texas. Project417 has decided to change our upcoming mission to New Orleans to focus on the urgent needs of San Leon Texas. Contact us here to join the team. San Leon is a poor town of about five thousand right on the coast. Their main industries – oyster harvesting, shrimp and crab fisheries have been almost wiped out. Their homes, mainly small wood frame “cottages” and trailers have been severely damaged or totally destroyed. Few have insurance and many will have difficulty collecting payments from FEMA.  A large percentage of the population is Vietnamese American and Hispanic. They were a joy to help, especially the children like Victor above and his sister Victoria, whose family of seven were sleeping in their Dad’s old Suburban in the driveway of their flooded out home. They slept in the car and started going to school every day just last week, and still they would come help us serve the meals to the thousands that visited the local disaster relief center established at the San Leon Community Church. I’m going back to help them, won’t you come too?
New photos and stories about Hurricane Ike disaster relief will be posted daily for the next few day, check back often.

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Galveston Seawall Levee- Major Damage Hurricane Ike

From – Houston: KHOU.com – damage estimates for the Galveston levee run into millions. Read more by clicking the link.  More Hurricane Ike Disaster Relief and volunteer updates and photos click the Home tab above.

More San Leon updates and photos soon. Andy is returning this weekend.

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San Leon Hurricane Ike Survivors Glad to See Disaster Relief Workers

More updates on the mission log here.

UPDATE: Saturday, October 4th, 2008 –

I have been serving the residents of San Leon, Texas now all this week. We visit for several hours twice daily in one of the Salvation Army Mobile canteen trucks to serve fresh hot meals for lunch and dinner. We have averaged about 1,00 meals a day at the San Leon Community Disaster Relief Center at the site of a small Baptist church, along with Houston Food bank, the American Baptist Association and  local volunteers. Total meals served from our command center are over 6,500 a day all from mobile canteen crews like ours. Total for all the Louisiana and Texas disaster incident commands are more than 1.2 Million hot meals since relief efforst began a month ago, first for Gustav, then Ike.

The devastation of San Leon, just up the coast from Galveston, is equal or more severe than what I witnessed in New Orleans after Katrina in the Lower 9th Ward. There are thousands of residents whose homes were completely submerged by the 12 to 20 foot storm surge and battered by Hurricane Ikes category two winds. Even now, electrical power service has not been restored. There is no ice, clean water, local sources of food (the nearest supermarket open is more than 20km). Entire home contents have been lost. Most homes in San Leon were small and simple, many were trailer homes and wood frame houses. Lives have been lost. We pray for them all.for The majority of residents in San Leon are Vietnamese America, and Hispanic. Most don’t have insurance and no FEMA cash support has been received yet.  Many families with young children are sleeping in their cars outside their gutted homes. Some were homeless and living rough before the storm and now are severely at risk having lost even their open air campsites and squats and what few belongings they had.

These photos from Sanleontexas.com (maintained by a colourful local resident) are only a few showing both the destruction and the will to survive and overcome. I’ll be posting many more of mine when I have a more reliable internet connection showing the volunteers and residents working together.

These people really need your help, consider  making a generous donation today. Contact me here by submitting a comment to the post if you have any questions.

Pasadena Texas residents tell stories of Hurricane Ike damage and recovery

The Citizen, a Pasadena Texas newspaper online. Volunteer appreciation stories and residents tell of weathering Hurricane Ike and clean-up recovery in their own photos.

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Andy Coats of Project417 arrived at the Pasadena Salvation Army late Friday to help out local residents slammed by Ike, many still without power 2 weeks after Ike. They have been providing hot meals to locals and dispatching canteens to service a wider area- Galveston, Seabrook and Beaumont. More than 1.8 million meals have been served since the storm.

Today the existing mobile kitchen operated in partnership with Southern Baptist volunteers was being dismantled (12 fifty-three foot trailers) and moved to Seabrook, so the Pasadena EDS Incident Commander, Salvation Army Captain Edward Alonzo volunteered his church and community center, located on Cherry Brook Lane, to take over the cooking that replenishes the canteens. (this is also the site of the EDS Incident Command) I’d already told the Captain I was willing to cook anytime so, even though I’d been planning to do canteen duty in Galveston, Captain Alonzo appealed to me for help. Sure, I said, I can cook… Umm, How many are we talking? 600 the captain said (I didn’t blink- note to self: take up poker). Turns out after speaking with Cedric, the officer responsible for the canteens, it would be 600 meals per canteen.

OK grabbed a calculator and did the math. 4 canteen trucks- 600 lunches and 600 suppers. That. Is. Four. Thousand. Eight Hundred. Meals. So, I’ll be having a busy day tomorrow. Stay tuned. By the way, you can reach me on my cell while I’m here 1+832-472-8421.

Onsite with Hurricane Ike – Emergency Disaster Services Houston – Project417

Update:Hurricane Ike Disaster Relief

As of 4AM today (Sept. 26th) Andy Coats of Project417 is flying down to Houston as a member of the first Canadian Emergency Disaster Services team of the Salvation Army. There is a team of 10 in total for the first responders, and the assignment will last until October 9th, 2008. At that time the second team will come down to relieve us (although I’m prepared to stay longer.

Setting up the EDS Warehouse in Gretna

Setting up the EDS Warehouse in Gretna

My assignment, with colleagues from Canada, is with the Salvation Army EDS in Houston, for distribution of food and emergency supplies to victims, EDS teams and emergency service personnel: hot meals, water, MRE’s, med kits, clean-up kits, personal hygiene items,  snacks, food boxes and other donated items for victims. Other team members will be on mobile canteen duty, crisis intervention counselling (CISM), grief counselling and spiritual support.

During the time there I will also meet with the Houston CSM city leader to assess the damage to their housing site and possible relief services for the next missions. There may be an opportunity to visit Galveston to survey the damage also – and a trip to New Orleans to arrange the November short-term mission details.

I may or may not have access to the internet, but if I do I will continue to post updates and photos or make arrangements for them to be posted on my behalf. Ditto with email, so don’t be concerned if you’re not hearing from me. You can always reach me on my cell phone – visit the Project417.com site for details.

If you need to contact me, please contact Rev. Joe Elkerton, Executive Director of Project417 email:  elkerton at project417 dot com.

Gutting Houses

Please consider making a donation today to help the Hurricane Ike victims in Texas (Galveston and Houston) and New Orleans, Louisiana – by making a secure online donation with PayPal to Project417 (a registered charity of: Ekklesia Inner City Ministries)

Appeal from Houston Charity – CSM Center for Student Missions – Hurricane Ike Damages Housing Site

I received an urgent email update from our friends at CSM in Houston today:

Houston Hurricane Alert CSM Center for Student Missions

CSM Houston’s housing site lost it’s roof during Hurricane Ike. Many of you know that Houston was directly hit by Hurricane Ike. Many homes, businesses and churches were devastated by the double devastation of wind and water.

The CSM housing site was not spared Ike’s fury. Thank God that no one was home at the time of the hurricane, but the hurricane winds did peel off the roof of the gym building where teams shower and eat and where our seasonal staff are housed. Water came through windows and the roof, drenching rooms, furniture and floors. The church’s insurance adjuster estimates about a million dollars damage for the whole property. Because of the evacuation, when our Houston city leader Paul Randall could finally inspect the site, he discovered that mold had already developed. CSM helps ministries in need, but right now, CSM Houston needs your help.

In order to continue helping the city during the crises of Hurricane Ike’s aftermath, we will need to make extensive repairs to the CSM site. We will need to replace all of the furniture and appliances in the staff housing as well as make construction repairs and replace flooring, carpeting and paint the entire facility. Though insurance will cover the structural damage to the roof it will not cover our damage and loss. Please be in prayer for the Houston team as they begin the clean up. Pray, too, that teams will come to Houston to assist with the clean up. Ask God to bring hope and encouragement to the congregation that shares their facility so generously with us.

We’d also like to ask you consider giving a special gift now to help us rebuild our housing and assist our host congregation. CSM Houston has an immediate, critical need where you can make a significant impact. Please send your gift to CSM, P.O. 900, Dana Point, CA 92629-0900 or you can donate online at http://www.CSM.org/ Look under “Opportunities” and designate your gift in the note box. Your gift today will enable CSM to continue supporting our ministry partners in the city as they rebuild.We want to thank you for all of your heartfelt care and partnership with us at CSM as together we bring hope and transformation to often forgotten people for God’s sake.

Dan Reeve
CSM President
http://www.csm.org

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CSM Center for Student Missions also has a site in Toronto, who for many years have sent volunteers – more than 500 every year – to help Project417 with our Sandwich Runs to the Homeless out on the streets and many of those volunteers are here visiting from all over the United States, even Texas. They have helped us here in Toronto for so many years I hope people can be encouraged to return the blessing and help them in their time of need.  I’ll be visiting Houston for the next two weeks to help set up an Emergency Disaster Services warehouse to distribute personal items, emergency kits and food hampers. While I’m there I’ll do my best to meet with Paul Randall of CSM Houston and get an update on their progress. Check back to the MissionLog blog here often or visit our Facebook page. <><

==> More Hurricane Updates and Photos

Hurricane Ike Damage – Galveston [photos]

This photo montage shows the true devastation of Hurricane Ike

This photo montage shows the true devastation of Hurricane Ike

From a former Houston resident now in Louisville, blogger and meteorologist: His blog has photos, tons of links to hurricane Ike and Gustav photos / video and helpful insight from someone knowledgeable who understands what it is to be there in the midst of it. Visit the blog and give him a shout at symonsez.wordpress.com

Visit our MissionLog homepage for many more photos, hurricane relief efforts updates and volunteer opportunities.

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