DE residents demand answer

The flood of Sept. 15 rallied the community of Glenville in a way that has never happened before, said the Rev. Shane Moran, a United Methodist pastor who lives in the neighborhood.

BY TRAVIS DUNN | GLENVILLE, Del. | September 28, 2003



"This last one was scary. It came without warning. It came quickly and it was the worst ever."

—Rev. Shane Moran


The flood of Sept. 15 rallied the community of Glenville in a way that has never happened before, said the Rev. Shane Moran, a United Methodist pastor who lives in the neighborhood. Trouble is, what's bringing the residents together is a nearly unanimous demand for a government buyout of all the flood-ravaged homes in the community.

"What's really tough about this experience is that it's really helped bring together the community in a common cause. But the irony is that the common cause is to break us up," Moran said. "It's almost a shame to break up the neighborhood now."

In evidence of the outpouring of common feeling, Moran points out the various sprayed-painted messages that adorn the facades of the ruined homes:

"12 NOON HOMEOWNER," reads one message. "1 PM HOMELESS."

Another: "WATERFRONT PROPERTY FOR SALE."

Then there were the rallies last week, which brought more than 200 residents from Glenville to a New Castle County commissioners' meeting as well as to the Delaware state legislature.

"Think about a community of 195 homes that sends 200 people to the state legislature on a Wednesday on a workday," he said. "That's just incredible."

This level of dedication and organization definitely got some notice, from county, state and federal officials. President Bush declared the affected communities disaster areas and made them eligible for funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

It also got the attention of Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, who happened to show up the day that the creek rose for the third time in less than two weeks. "I got to call that a God thing," Moran said. "She saw it and she went, 'Wow!' So she saw firsthand what's happening."

In contrast, after the other major flood, brought on by Hurricane Floyd, there were only a handful of people calling for a buyout.

But the reaction this time is understandable, according to Moran, since the damage was much more extensive, and the water in Red Clay Creek rose at a frightening pace.

"This last one was scary. It came without warning. It came quickly and it was the worst ever. The sun was shining, it was a gorgeous day and the water just started running down the street and caving in houses," he said. "And this wasn't even a hurricane, you've got to understand. The flood we had came before Isabel ever made landfall."

Some residents were even hoping for Isabel to come along and wipe out their homes-something that didn't happen (the creek rose a few feet in the wake of the hurricane, not even enough to go over its banks.)

"ISSY COME AND FINISH THE JOB," read another sign.

Isabel didn't finish the job, and now the people of Glenville, as well as a few residents of nearby Marshallton, are still slogging through the mess.

Moran is doing what he can to organize relief work, as both a clergyman and as the vice president of the community's civic association.

As a pastor, Moran has got his hands full. Not only is he helping out in Glenville, but he's also attending to the needs of his congregation in Port Deposit, Md.

Many of his parishioners in Port Deposit were without power for nearly a week, and since nearly all of them rely on wells for their running water, no power meant no water.

"So they've had a tough time," Moran said.

Back in Glenville, Moran is working to make sure that the mistakes of Hurricane Floyd are not repeated this time around.

The big problem in Floyd's aftermath was donations mismanagement, he said. Volunteers bought a trailer and people began to pack it up with donated goods.

The result: the trailer was stuffed with inappropriate donations nobody wanted. Then Moran had to figure out what to do with it.

This time around, Moran is doing things a little differently. This time there is no trailer and no warehouse space. Instead, Moran is matching up donations with people who need them. That way there is no need for storage, since flood survivors get the stuff directly from the people making the donations, and there are no leftover donations, since people only take what they need.

This system is working well so far, he said, except for one drawback.

"The downside of it is I don't have much time to work on my own house," he said. "And we got raw sewage in the basement."


Related Topics:

Solutions for flood insurance

How US flood insurance works

Volunteers build a Christmas present


More links on Flooding

Advertisers:

DNN Sponsors include:

Advertisements: