Helping Hurricane Ike Families Recover in San Leon, Texas for Christmas

Project417 hosted a volunteer team from Georgia State University – the Vietnamese Student Association – to visit San Leon, Galveston County, Texas and help a family re-build and renovate their hurricane ravaged home.

More photos to be posted at our Flickr photo sharing pages …

Team leaders Andy and April started the 1,600 mile drive down on Dec 11th and arrived Saturday morning the 13th to meet the volunteers (after a short hiatus just south of Nashville, Tennessee where we were delayed for a night during an ice storm on the interstate). Our volunteers from GSU had driven the thousand miles from Atlanta in a rented 15 passenger van.

During Andy’s initial Hurricane Ike disaster relief visit to Texas in September and October, he met the Vo family in San Leon – they were sleeping in their car while trying to re-build their flooded out home. So Project417 immediately began planning for return trips. Julie Vo (no relation) of the GSU – VSA contacted us  at the end of November after seeing our appeal for volunteers at Project417.com

Julie and her team of 13 volunteers turned out to be a real blessing – the hardest working group of volunteers Andy has ever hosted during trips for Hurricanes Katrina and Ike recovery. More trip details, photos  and updates will be posted here soon. Our next volunteer trips start in January 2009, next month – there’s still so much work to do. Contact us here by posting a comment to find out how you can help or donate.

DONATE Now to help the families in San Leon – your donation will help fund more volunteer teams and purchase much needed clothing, household supplies, furniture – renovation building materials,  & heavy construction equipment rentals.

read more | digg story

Andy and Victoria Vo

Andy and Victoria Vo

Hurricane Ike Disaster Recovery – San Leon, Texas – Volunteer Trip

The recovery work continues –

From our facebook group, come visit us there:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=37327829412

Andy

Andy

(you must be logged into Facebook to visit the group)


 
 
Continuing disaster relief effortsby Project417 team member Andy Coates

San Leon, Texas

San Leon, Texas

in September and October , there will be another volunteer trip to take part in the recovery work in Galveston County from December 13th to 17th, 2008. The work will take place in San Leon, Texas, a small town on the coast that depends primarily on the devastated fishing industry for survival. The Hurricane Ike storm surge severely damaged most homes in San Leon and the volunteer recovery projects will consist mostly of property clean-up and house renovation and gutting.
Plans arefor a Toronto and area team to visit San Leon Texas in the second week of January. April and Andy are heading down there this week (Dec 11th)  to meet a group of 12 volunteers from Georgia State University- The Vietnamese Students Association and we will be performing community relief work such as property clean-up, and renovations / gutting of flood damaged homes for primarily the Vietnamese American families who live there.The Georgia group is there from the 13th to the 17 of December and then we’ll return.In the second week of January, we also have tentatively booked another group of volunteers from the University of Illinois, approximately 20 students, to visit San Leon again. Many of this group have experience gutting out homes and other relief work in Alabama, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina.

Consider joining a team. Donate to project417 to help the Hurricane Ike victims

::

FEMA Relief in Texas Thousands Waiting to Rebuild after Ike

Source NYTimes.com  – A letter To the Editor: from FEMA about housing relief efforts following Hurricane Ike.

Hurricane Ike damaged home in San Leon, Galveston County, Texas

Hurricane Ike damaged home in San Leon, Galveston County, Texas

Approximately 22,000 people displaced by Hurricane Ike sought and found FEMA shelter assistance. FEMA  …has reimbursed them for expenses they may have incurred. This reimbursement program was scheduled to end last week, but was extended when it became clear that repairs and clearances for some homes would be delayed. FEMA is judging extensions on a case-by-case basis. Some could stretch into next year. – quoting Jonathan F. Thompson, Director of External Affairs, FEMA”.

Andy Coats and Project417, who partnered with the Salvation Army and San Leon Community Disaster Relief for two weeks at the end of September, is retruning to San Leon with volunteer teams to help with the re-building. Many of the poorer residents of San Leon are stuck in a Catch 22 situation with repsect to their FEMA claims. Although they qualify for FEMA assistance grants to re-build their homes, the FEMA aid is dependant on the house foundations being raised at least eight feet above flood plain levels. In the case of one family Andy helped in San Leon, while the FEMA grant exceeds $25,000 – sufficient to repair the storm surge submerged home – it does not cover the cost of raising the home foundation the required height on pillars to be safe from future storm surges. As a result, no insurance company will issue a policy, and no mortgage can be issued without insurance. The result is three fold, FEMA will not pay the money without insurance on the home. The family can not afford the extensive repairs, and the home can not be sold, because no purchaser would receive a mortgage without the insurance.

Project417 is seeking donations to adopt Texas families in similar situations, assist in the rebuilding to FEMA standards, and to raise volunteer teams to take part in re-building to reduce overall construction costs. Check back to the blog pages here for updates on the next planned volunteer trips in December and January.  Share this page with your friendsDigg the story, and share it on Facebook.

read more | digg story

Hurricane Ike – Volunteer Trip – Texas Recovery

Volunteers needed – Going to San Leon, Galveston County, Texas

Time and Place: still tentative

Starting: 10 to 14 days duration between Friday, November 14, 2008 and Sunday, Jan 14, 2009

Location: Texas – Houston, Pasadena, Galveston County, Seabrook, Kemah, Bacliff, San Leon

Contact Info: This is a Facebook event, visit the Project417 page on Facebook, or leave a comment here.

Description: Project417 is returning to Texas to help with Hurricane Ike Recovery. We have a tentative location in Galveston County – San, Leon, Texas, where I was doing disaster relief at the San Leon Community Church Community Relief Center set up there. The work will most likely consist of property clean-up of hurricane debris, help re-building and repairing homes damaged by the storm, helping at the local disaster relief and recovery center, visiting families recovering from the storm.

Dates are still flexible, we had been hoping to go Nov. 14th, but more volunteers needed, a team of six or seven would be great – we have three so far. We’d like to get down before Christmas but are flexible [ the folks there need help NOW ] Duration of the stay will be 10 days to two weeks. Approx cost per person, includes return flight, van/bus rental: CDN$800 — Accomodation is tentatively free at a local church or volunteer camp, meals extra so far.

More details to come – check the event for more updates

22 photos

Hurricane Ike Photos – Texas Disaster Relief – Galveston Cty

The aftermath of Hurricane Ike – most of the photos taken by me volunteering with Project417 and the Salvation Army from Sept. 26th to October 9th, 2008. Location: Texas – Houston, Pasadena, Galveston County, Seabrook, Kemah, Bacliff, San Leon. So many of them remind me of working in the Lower Ninth – New Orleans after Katrina.

Please Volunteer!

See the photos on Facebook – click “read more

read more | digg story

Thousands a day seeking meals from Salvation Army in Galveston County

Galveston County Daily News, Oct. 6, 2008 GALVESTON: Tracy Czajkowski, a captain in the Salvation Army, said she and other volunteers from across the country hope to be the “shock absorbers” for Galveston residents who lost everything during the storm. Relief workers and volunteers, have gone from one disaster zone to another. At each place, workers have been greeted by people clinging to the end of their rope. [ end of excerpt ]

Andy and Karyl on the canteen

Andy and Karyl on the canteen

Over on the mainland in Galveston County, I am serving meals in devastated San Leon, Texas. The Pasadena Command of the Salvation Army is now focusing its mobile canteen service on the southern areas of the coastal area hit by Hurricane Ike. San Leon has had two canteens assigned for a total of over two thousand people served hot meals each day, and each day the food often runs out prompting the Emotional and Spiritual Care teams to call for even more support. The main mobile kitchen in Seabrook, staffed by Southern Baptist volunteers, that cook all the meals for the canteens prepare about 6,500 meals a day. Our canteen travels there twice a day to pick up the food and restock with water, ice, Gator Aid and snacks. It’s expected that mobile kitchen will re-locate south across the causeway into the coastal town of Kemah, more central to our relief efforts now that life is becoming more normalized in Houston County.

Today will be my last day onsite of the trip, but I look forward to returning soon to help the folks in San Leon and Galveston. I’ve given thought to changing the New Orleans short term mission in November to Galveston County and the people of San Leon. They all need help gutting out flood ravaged homes. Many are being bulldozed due to structural damage and will have to be rebuilt from scratch. Thanks for all your support and consider donating to help the poor people who have no homes and little that we all take for granted.
~~~
Andy Coats

read more | digg story

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.

%d bloggers like this: