After Powerful Hurricane, Rescuers Scour Ravaged Areas

Emergency officials struggled to carry out rescue efforts on Sunday after Hurricane Ike roared across a wide swath of Texas, deluging the city of Galveston and other coastal areas with a surge of water, leaving extensive damage across metropolitan Houston, and killing at least three people. Ike ravaged much of the Gulf coats including Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. More… [NY Times – source]

Donate now to help Hurricanes Ike and Gustav victims.

read more | digg story

New Orleans Update – Hurricane Ike Headed for Texas Coast – Louisiana Watchful

Hurricane and storm watch alerts for Ike

Hurricane and storm watch alerts for Ike

Latest reports are that Hurricane Ike, which battered Cuba with high winds and a five story storm surge, will make landfall on the Southeast Texas coast – Galveston Island to Houston area late friday, early Saturday. Currently rated category 2, but expected to pick up steam to category 3 at least before striking, Ike is already afftecting the Louisiana gulf coast area and New Orleans with winds in excess of 70 mph [ 120kph ] . Although the center of the storm’s path is headed towards Texas, it’s effects spread across hundreds of miles of southwest U.S. gulf coastline.

I’ve been planning to head down to New Orleans for Project417 since Labour Day weekend and the drive for donations to fund the trip is doing moderately well. However, there is still a shortfall of almost $800 to cover the trip expenses. For details of the project click here or visit Project417.com .  Please donate so we can continue to help the residents of New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 while they are still threatened by this years onslaught of tropical storms and hurricanes.  You can donate online by clicking on the Paypal link above or on the MissionLog home page.

Thanks!    <><  Andy

Battered U.S. Gulf Coast Deserves Our Help

 

Ike and other hurricanes batter the U.S. coastline

Ike and other hurricanes batter the U.S. coastline

Project417 is trying to reach New Orleans to continue the relief and construction efforts started after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The media and public opinion though seem to have forgotten the magnitude of the work still left from Katrina’s devastation. 

 

August and September, 2008 serve to remind us that damaging hurricanes still threaten the region – the residents of New Orleans and indeed all of the Florida, Louisiana and neighboring Mississippi and Texas gulf coastal areas are in need of our help. While large scale relief efforts by organizations like the Salvation Army and the Red Cross are indispensable – it is the smaller grass roots volunteer organizations like Project417 that can have a lasting impact on the people directly affected by Katrina, Hanna, Ike and the rest of the storms. By promoting home re-building for families forgotten by state authorities and large organizations, real friendships are forged and emotional healing is begun. It is an opportunity to show our faith by actions, not just words.

Donations are beginning to come in to Project417 – help us get there to deliver encouragement and your messages of support.

Donate to Project417 now online.

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.

Gulf Coast New Orleans Spared as Gustav Downgraded and Passes Through

Hurricane Gustav moves inland, Hannah, Ike and Josephine move in.

Hurricane Gustav moves inland, Hannah, Ike and Josephine move in.

Thankfully, Hurricane Gustav weakened before striking the gulf coast and passing New Orleans. According to news reports, Hurricane Gustav was downgraded to Category 2 hurricane before making landfall about a hundred miles to the south west of New Orleans in the Cajun bayou country of coastal Louisiana. Although Gustav packed a punch, with strong winds up to 170 kmh, the recently repaired and improved levees in New Orleans held back the storm surge – which was about three metres less than that during Katrina. The levees held, and the newly constructed storm gates were effective. The main levee along the New Orleans Industrial Canal was tested by Hurricane Gustav though, with the waters rising to the brim of the levee walls and storm blown waters cresting the top and cascading down into residential neighborhoods. The Industrial Canal was one of the levees to fail catastrophically during Katrina and cause the devastating flooding of the Lower Ninth Ward resulting in almost total destruction of the community.

The Lower 9th of Orleans Parish was where Project417 provided relief and reconstruction on three homes for the family of Mr. Herbert Gettridge in 2006 following Hurricane Katrina. As of Monday during the passing of Gustav, there were reports of flooding in Orleans Parish streets from ankle to knee depth due to the water flowing over the tops of the levee. There were widespread power blackouts as Gustav’s hurricane winds shredded electrical power lines and toppled poles and towers with more than a million homes affected. Thank God so far the Industrial Canal levee, strengthened and upgraded in the past three years has held. In addition, the water pumps which are critical to pumping all storm drain and sewage from below-sea-level New Orleans, continued working – during Katrina, they were the first to fail. New Orleans Mayor, Ray Nagin, had earlier in the week ordered the mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, which went smoothly aided by contraflow traffic on the interstates and a well ordered parish by parish exodus, and is expected to issue the return home notices soon. Many New Orleans residents still chose to ride out the storm and hospitals were operating with skeleton staffing crews and back-up power. Reports are still coming in from southwest Louisiana where the brunt of the hurricane hit first. In addition, Bay St. Louis and Biloxi, Mississippi, both heavily damaged during Katrina, were also reporting heavy wind damage and surge flooding from Gustav.

As the Accuweather satellite photo depicts above, there is still a triple threat of hurricanes in the Atlantic from tropical storms Hannah, Ike and Josephine.

Project417 is heading to New Orleans in November, 2008 to continue re-construction in the Lower Ninth Ward. Outreach worker Andy Coats had been scheduled to visit New Orleans over the Labor Day weekend, but the news of Gustav has postponed that preparatory trip. Visit Project417 here to volunteer and donate to the recovery efforts.

[with notes from Toronto Sun, and Accuweather]

New Orleans, Gulf Coast Brace for Hurricane Gustav Monday, and Tropical Storm Hannah on its Heels

Satellite Image Hurricane Gustav - Hannah

Satellite Image Hurricane Gustav - Hannah

Hurricane Gustav will reach major hurricane status by the time it reaches the central Gulf coast early in the week. Uncertainty still remains about whether Hanna will add to the misery by late next week. The current forecast takes the eye of Gustav into the coast of Louisiana, west of the Mississippi Delta, late on Monday or early on Tuesday. However, all interests along the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle to South Texas should monitor Gustav and prepare accordingly. The heavy rain and winds from Gustav will test levees breached during Hurricane Katrina. However, the storm surge will be less across Lake Ponchratrain if the hurricane makes landfall over the southwestern coast of Louisiana.

According to the Times Picayune in New Orleans, Gov. Bobby Jindal said that Louisiana will open contraflow traffic patterns on interstates by “early, early Sunday morning”. Preparations are being made to evacuate people out of at least 19 parishes where a state of emergency has been declared.

Project417, planning a Katrina re-building visit in November hopes that Gustav and Hannah do not add to the devastation of New Orleans and the gulf coast this time.

Visit Project417 to Help with Hurricane Relief

read more | digg story

Paris Hilton and Project417 – Unconfirmed Connections

Do you see Paris Hilton in the photo?

Do you see Paris Hilton in the photo?

Paris Hilton did not announce today her intentions to leave the USA and join the non-profit organization Project417 located in Toronto. The celebrity heiress, oft noted as being famous for being famous, is unlikely to confirm the unfounded rumors, first published on Facebook, that she would leave the media spotlight behind to join Project417 to help the homeless. A spokesperson for Project417, Andy Coates, would neither confirm nor deny the reports, but is quoted as saying, ” Paris Hilton?“. It is uncertain at this time as to the impact this may or may not have on the U.S. Presidential race, global warming, or the price of a barrel of crude oil.

The reports may be linked to the upcoming visit by Andy Coates of Project417 to New Orleans. Andy is visiting New Orleans at the end of August 2008 to take part in ceremonies commemorating Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the U.S. gulf coast on August 29th, 2005. Andy as part of a Project417 team volunteered for New Orleans relief and disaster recovery efforts from April to October of 2006 and worked on re-building projects in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Lakeview and Gretna. Andy headed up several volunteer teams from the Salvation Army Louisiana Recovery Command and Americorps as well as teams from Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton.

The re-building projects consisted primarily of helping the extended family of Mr. Herbert Gettridge renovate three homes in the almost totally destroyed Lower 9th Ward of Orleans Parish. He also lead teams working on renovating the home of Mr. Lionel Worthy in the Lower 9th (situated directly across the street from the Katrina Memorial erected in 2006), as well as a house in Lakeview adjacent to the breached 17th Street Canal owned by the elderly Mrs. Aline Dastague.

During the upcoming visit, in addition to taking part in the city’s memorial events, Andy will visit with the people he and the other volunteers helped to see the changes two more years have brought to the still recovering communities. Andy has learned that there is still work needed at a home owned Mr. Gettridge. The property has historical heritage site status as the former home of Sister Gertrude, a local artist and musician, and still needs to be placed back on its foundations. In addition, he will visit with the local New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity worksites and communicate with the Fuller Center for Housing (Millard Fuller is the founder of Habitat). The end purpose of the visit is to decide upon a worksite for a Project417 volunteer team who will head down to New Orleans later this fall (November).

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

Ok, so this had nothing to do with Paris Hilton, but at least you read the note. You can help by making a donation today to Project417. Visit the Project417 Page here on Facebook or go to http://www.project417.com

Digg this! || More about Paris Hilton

%d bloggers like this: