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.

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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

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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.

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Galveston hospital flooded by Hurricane Ike cuts 3800 staff

Flooding at UTMB after Hurricane IkeIke

Galveston, TEXAS –

[/source]

Still struggling to recover from Hurricane Ike, the battered economy of Galveston Island has suffered another severe blow with the decision by the University of Texas to lay off 3,800 people next week from the medical center, the largest employer on the island. [end of excerpt]

If you’ve been following the Project417 Hurricane Ike Relief updates here, you know we have another trip planned soon to return to Galveston County to help with the recovery efforts.  Many people have asked me, “What’s it like down there Andy?”, or have commented something like, “it’s lucky the U.S. is such a wealthy developed country, they can take care of their own after a disaster”.

Galveston University of Texas Medical Branch during the hurricane

Galveston University of Texas Medical Branch during the hurricane

I hope some of these photos from the University of Texas Medical Center at Galveston, will give you some perspective on the scope of the hurricane damage in Texas – specifically in Galveston County and Galveston Island.  How soon do you think Toronto General or Sick Kids would be business as normal following flooding on this scale?

How would the economy of Mississauga be affected by the lay-off of over three thousand people at Trillium or Credit Valley Hospital?

The re-building and recovery efforts in Galveston are a huge undertaking – and for the ordinary family, there is no insurance coverage to replace their homes. Often the FEMA grants available will cover only a small percentage of the costs needed to re-build a damaged or destroyed home. Then there are all the other costs like temporary housing, job loss due to business closures, replacing entire contents submerged by the flood: Fridge, stove, washer, dryer, beds, furniture, clothing, computers, A/C, TV’s and stereos – all your worldly possessions. The efforts of volunteers, to help with a multitude of tasks related to re-building, repair and renovation, are priceless, and often are the only means of less affluent families to even begin the recovery process.

We're collecting money for this Galveston County family to help rebuild their home.

We're collecting money for this Galveston County family to help rebuild their home.

So join us for the next trip, contact us here by posting a comment. Consider making a donation to cover the cost of the trip and the purchase of tools and building materials from local suppliers in Texas to be donated to the families most in need.

Support Project417, help the homeless Hurricane Ike victims, make a differenc

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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

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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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