MDS responds to Hurricane Isaac


MDS-built homes survive Hurricane Isaac

From MDS files

Wearing Tyvek suits and tall rubber boots, four young people and one adult of a Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Early Response Team glopped through sticky mud September 11 to muck out and gut the lower level of a home in Plaquemines Parish in southern New Orleans. The team, from Lancaster County, members of MDS partner Storm Aid, were among the first outsiders to dig in to help victims recover from Hurricane Isaac, which destroyed some 450 homes in the parish and damaged at least an additional 400.

A second ERT group of about 10 volunteers is working in Braithwaite, La., (pictured below) and another van-load of volunteers is arriving Wednesday, Sept. 12. These groups are also mucking out homes and removing debris, working with skid steers, water pumps, pressure washers along with shovels, buckets and wheelbarrows. They are working with the Parish leaders who provided a fire truck filled with fresh water so they can wash the homes out after they muck them out. The water is still not on in the community, so this is the only way they can complete the clean up work.

"It’s hard, dirty work – and very much appreciated by the community," says MDS staff member Barb Weaver. 

Isaac hit August 29, seven years to the day of Hurricane Katrina. The east bank of Plaquemines Parish, the most devastated area, was flooded with up to 14 feet of water after the gulf-side levee was breeched.

Last week, Jerry Klassen, disaster response coordinator, and Brett Troyer, project logistics coordinator, traveled to the hurricane-damaged area, connecting with local MDS leaders and investigating and coordinating response efforts.

Owners of MDS-built homes in Grand Bayou, La., that are elevated report that their homes all survived the storm with only minimal shingle damage. Some homes that are not elevated were flooded. Former MDS clients in the Diamond, La., area also report that their homes survived Hurricane Isaac.

Former MDS clients in the region describe Hurricane Isaac as the worst storm many have seen due to the duration of wind and rain. 

As MDS response continues and volunteer needs are known, the website, will be updated. 

Mennonite Disaster Service is a volunteer network of Anabaptist churches that responds in Christian love to those affected by disasters in Canada and the United States.While the main focus is on clean up, repair and rebuilding homes, this service touches lives and nurtures hope, faith and wholeness.


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