Hurricane Isaac Response

As hurricane Isaac pounds the gulf coast with torrential rain fall and flooding we are all holding our breath that the damage will not be any worse than initial reports. Prayer is especially important at this time in the hope that there will not be a repeat of Katrina.

If you remember, the real damage and problems started after the storm passed through the area and the protective measures could not hold the water in the days that followed.

With so many contacts in the gulf region from response to Hurricane’s Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike we have been in contact with people through out the area. Efforts are underway for assistance to them in the response and recovery period. Please join with USECC at this time by supporting our efforts with your generous financial giving. As you can well imagine, this will not be a short recovery and any and all gifts over the next several months will be greatly appreciated.

Please feel free to spread the word through your own social networks and friends encouraging them by example to help out as well and refer them to our website or by your own emails, texts and tweets. Donations can be made securely on our website via Pay pal or by simply sending checks to our office at USECC PO 1183 Decatur IL 62525. We’ll do our best to keep information flowing.


New  Update September 3, 2012.

Still based in Slidell LA at this point.  The water has subsided but a a much slower rate than first expected.  The area of Slidell that flooded was Old Town on the south side next to Lake Pontchartrain.  As Isaac moved on, the threat came from a possible flooding along the Tangipahoa River flowing down from dam stress in Mississippi.  At the same time, Locks #1 and 2, were “imminent” to fail along the Pearl River and a mandatory evacuation was issued.

By Monday, 9-3-12 the order was “voluntary” and crews were still on stand-by.  Many people had cautiously returned to gather things from their homes while others stayed with their property.  The Pearl was expected to crest by Tuesday at 19′.  The Tangipahoa had crested Sunday.  As of this writing, both the locks and the dam have held and other than a 30% chance of possible “pop up” storms, there are no disturbing weather systems forecasted.

People in this area are getting clean up supplies from Convoy of Hope that we have had contact with in numerous incidents over the years.  FEMA has a station set up as well for roof tarps and different supplies to assist as well.  By Tuesday reports of feeding stations are to be in place for a limited time to assist residents and workers.

Plans to move on to Placquemans Parish and other areas are in the works if no further threats present themselves.  This area was severely damaged after Katrina and has been most all restored as well as a new cancer and kidney medical centers added.

Once again the wonders and miracles of what did not happen that should have are pronounced.  If any of those rivers, locks or dams fail damage reports and casualties would certainly be much different.  Please keep up the payers, miracles are happening and I can only attribute it to the power of prayer.  More updates to follow as time and system accessibility avail themselves.      Blessings………..Chaplain Steve

Sept. 5

The condensed version is this,  Lock #1 & 2 will hold.  I was up there yesterday 9-4-12, and spoke with some of the engineers.  The problem was when lock 2 overflowed to the side of the lock and flowed downstream next to the system.  It did erode about 100 yards long and sloped downhill as the lock dropped off, quite significantly up to 20′.  A definite sight to behold, which is what one of the  local residents saw and “set off the alarm” and then posted it on FB.

The Parish president secured permission from the Corps of Engineers to release pressure on the lock.  They began to gradually release a little water to relieve the pressure and take care of the problem.  This continued for several days and the Pearl did crest yesterday, so with the gradual release the threat is subsided.  There is still a significant amount of water upstream and will be for some time to come.  It did rain last night and in the forecast for today as well.  Unless it is significant, I don’t foresee any problems.
In another major development, the governor shut down all POD sites.  Convoy of Hope was to join their site with FEMA Tuesday and handle distribution from that point.    It is unclear at this time why the sites were shut down and I am not implying anything in a derogatory manor.  I do know the local residents were still using the site regularly while the clean up continues.  It will take sometime for the neighborhoods north of the lake to get back to normal.  On the good side of it, no roads or infrastructure sustained damage, utilities are connected and the city’s water supply was not tainted.  It was clearly a blessing for people to get a little financial relief in the way of clean up kits, snacks and water.  Temps in the area are still in the mid to upper 90′s with high humidity.
I’ll be heading back into the New Orleans, as well as the Placquemans area and see what relief efforts will be needed.  Clean up will be going on for months to come and we are praying there are not more hurricanes or storms this year.
As of tomorrow I’ll not have as easy access to Internet, power is up but cable and Internet is still lagging in some places.  In spite of the damage people are doing remarkably well at this point.  Heat and weather continues to take the energy out of all  of us.  Thanks for your prayers and don’t stop now.  …………Blessings……………Chaplain Steve 
September 10, 2012
Back home.  So much that happened in the last several days.  Things in Plaquemans Parish are slowly coming along.  Debris removal is still a main concern, there is a lot along the streets and roads with much more that will be coming as the gutting of resident homes and buildings continues.  As you know, not much can be done in the way of repair and re construction until debris is removed.  Wet debris from flooding is especially tough to deal with because it is so heavy.  This requires road crews and heavy machinery to do the job. 
The usual unpleasentries accompany the workers as well such as high heat and stiffeling humidity along with little breeze.  Smells have a progression of old fabric stench, then the rotting smell, followed by garbage and waste smell as things pile up.  Even the mud smells, not to mention all of us as we sweat it out.  Keep these folks in your prayers as the job drags on.  The same is going on in LaPlace. 
Power was restored and most AC’s are humming if they weren’t damaged in the storm.  Food and other items are once again returning to the shelves in the stores and most PODS are doing only modest distribution at this point. 
We could still use your help and support.  I  have a lot of follow up work to do with some of the families I have known.  We are completely out of Bibles and other supplies.  In the duration of travel I blew a tire that had to be replaced and the list goes on.  Please remember us as we try to restock our own supplies  to be ready for the future. 
The outer bands of the rain from Isaac reached all the way back to my home in central Illinois.  It was a good news, bad news situation.  We desperately needed the six inches of rain that fell.  Water restrictions were in place and the draught was severe, the worst I’d seen since 1988.  I only mowed three times between May and the end of August, and that was to knock down the buckhorns. 
Bad news was that some of the storms were severe and lightning strikes knocked our power out, fried our main box resulting in total loss of all food in the freezer and fridge. 
We’ll continue to have contact with our friends in the gulf and pray that there are no more storms that cause damage there or anywhere else for that matter.  Keep the Chaplaincy in your prayers and that we can re-coup and re-plenish with your help to be prepared for the future.  Thanks to everyone who assisted with this outreach and may God bless you mightly.  
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