East coast prepares

As Tropical Storm Bonnie rolls up the east coast with Hurricane Charley close behind, disaster relief organizations are checking their resources.

BY HEATHER MOYER | BALTIMORE | August 13, 2004



"With both storms approaching North Carolina, and the increased potential for tropical force winds and rain, people need to be prepared."

—Gov. Mike Easley


As Tropical Storm Bonnie rolls up the east coast with Hurricane Charley close behind, disaster relief organizations are checking their resources. Some areas along the east coast are expected to receive anywhere from two to six inches of rain this weekend as the storms move through.

In Georgia, Bob Tribble of Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) said he's ready to be deployed to needed affected areas should that be requested. Tribble said the possibility of flooding from the combined rainfall of Bonnie and Charley in the southeast Georgia area is very real.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency announced Friday that it was activating the state emergency operation center in advance of the storms.

In the Carolinas, LDR is also checking in with its pastors. "We're making sure people know where they can get the disaster preparation handbooks and that they know they can call us if they need help," said George Strunk of LDR region nine. "We're also checking to see where our resources are and what we have available."

Strunk said through it all, they're also keeping a close eye on the weather situation. "I was surprised the rain started out as heavy as it was," he said Thursday.

Tim Johnson, a Church World Service (CWS) Disaster Response and Recovery Liaison (DRRL), said many are taking a "wait and see" attitude as Charley's direction changes frequently.

On Thursday, the Governor of North Carolina advised citizens to prepare emergency kits and to stay advised of the weather.

"With both storms approaching North Carolina, and the increased potential for tropical force winds and rain, people need to be prepared," Gov. Mike Easley said in a statement. "We urge residents to pay close attention to weather reports tonight and tomorrow and put their emergency plans in place. Flooding appears to be the biggest concern right now. It is critical the people monitor emergency warnings and stay off flooded roads."

The Salvation Army has mobilized feeding units from Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Georgia to respond anywhere they're needed across the south. "It's been a crazy day today," laughed Mike Patterson, emergency disaster services director for The Salvation Army - North & South Carolina.

Across Virginia and Maryland, Jerry Foltz of the United Church of Christ (UCC) is checking in with the churches in the Central Atlantic Conference to make sure they know there are resources available. Foltz, disaster response coordinator for the conference, said he's telling his churches to stay in touch as the storms roll through.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is doing the same in Florida and across the south. UMCOR is also providing flood buckets to anyone who requests them.

"We also have been in conversation with the disaster response coordinators of each Annual Conference and they, in turn are alerting local coordinators to be prepared to help families in need and help with evacuations if necessary," said UMCOR executive secretary Tom Hazelwood in an email.

"While UMCOR's main focus in any disaster is the long term recovery, we are also ready to send thousands of flood buckets and clean-up supplies into the affected areas if needed. UMCOR's Sager Brown Depot in Louisiana is prepared to ship immediately to areas requesting supplies."


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