Storm pursues relentless path


The storm's remnants have continued to cause flooding and wind damage throughout the

south, and on Thursday forecasters reported that the storm had resumed some renewed

spiraling motion as it headed toward North Carolina.

Every time the remnants of Allison move to another state, more people die. By Thursday,

the death toll from the storm was at 27.

Florida and Georgia were the storm's latest targets, although those states did not fare as

badly as Texas and Louisiana, where some 20,000 homes were flooded.

In Georgia, the central and east-central portions of the state saw the most flooding, said

Buzz Weiss, spokesperson for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. "There was

some residential flooding but at this time it looks more like road flooding is the larger

problem," he said Thursday afternoon. "There have been no mass evacuations."

Florida fared worse, according to initial damage assessments. Up to 10 people may have

died due to the storm, and at least 300 homes were destroyed or damaged, mostly due to

flooding, said Jody Hill, executive director of Florida Interfaiths Networking in Disaster.

"Most of the damage is concentrated in Tallahassee, Leon County," she said, where more

than 10 inches of rain fell in 24 hours.

The Salvation Army Warehouse in Tallahassee took in three feet of water and lost most of

its stored supplies.

In Texas and Louisiana, flooding was so severe that many groups normally offering relief

had their own facilities damaged or completely wiped out.

Damage estimates are expected to reach $2 billion in Texas alone. Already, police are

warning flood survivors to beware of scams, including door-to-door cleanup and repair

services, freelance insurance adjusters, price gouging, and repair jobs that never get


Since the state of Texas doesn't license or regulate contractors, consumers need to be sure to

check their backgrounds, police reports warned.

Faith-based groups are increasing their support as the storm continues its wayward trek.

Week of Compassion, a giving program coordinated by the Christian Church (Disciples of

Christ), has provided $21,000 in emergency grants to begin meeting immediate needs.

In Louisiana, Velma Watson of Terrebonne Readiness and Assistance Coalition (TRAC)

reported that initial assessments were continuing but confirmed damage was major. "We've

got a lot of it," she said. "We can't even get into some areas yet."

One characteristic of this disaster, Watson said, was that many of those whose homes have

been damaged are in areas that had not before been affected by flooding. Many of those

whose homes were damaged in the Lafourche area, for example, did not have flood

insurance because their homes were on a "100-year" flood plain, Watson said.

"A lot of them are real depressed."

TRAC is convening an unmet needs committee meeting Thursday that will include

representatives of the faith community.

At the request of TRAC, Church World Service (CWS) overnighted 100 cleanup kits to

affected areas in Louisiana.

A CWS disaster response facilitator is traveling to Texas later this week and will be working

with local interfaith officials and church leaders in Texas to assess needs for a long-term

recovery program in the Houston area. Another CWS volunteer consultant will travel to


A team of trained volunteer Disaster Child Care (DCC) workers has traveled to Houston to

provide childcare in American Red Cross service centers. DCC, a program affiliated with

the Church of the Brethren, trains people from all faiths in how to care for children in a

post- disaster situation.

If people want to help flood survivors, cash donations are the best way to help, according to

responding groups.

In Houston's medical district, the main disaster relief unit of Texas Baptist Men is preparing

daily meals for at least 15,000 people.

The Salvation Army is the state's designated emergency shelter provider.

America's Second Harvest activated its disaster assistance team, which is establishing

contact with local food banks to determine the need for non-perishable foods.

Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR) is also responding through Lutheran Social Services of

the South, and through local and regional synods. LDR will distribute emergency funds

through local churches to assist flood survivors. LDR representatives also plan to assess

needs and help develop a long-term response.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is sending $10,000 to local representatives to help

meet emergency needs. PDA is also considering sending funds to Louisiana after the

Presbytery of South Louisiana completes a damage assessment.

PDA reported that volunteer work teams will likely be needed to assist with cleanup and


Both the United Methodist Committee on Relief and Christian Reformed World Relief

Committee (CRWRC) reported they were also contacting congregations and emergency

management officials in the worst-hit areas to try to assess needs.

"We expect significant involvement, especially during the long-term recovery," said said Bev

Abma, CRWRC disaster response administrator. "This is the first time in 13 years that a

storm of this magnitude has struck during the first week of hurricane season."

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