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CRWRC Readies Response as Hurricane Irene Whips U.S. East Coast

Disaster response managers from the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) are traveling east into the aftermath of Irene’s destruction.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI | August 28, 2011

As Hurricane Irene blows slowly northward into Canada and Nova Scotia today and residents who were evacuated from storm surge areas begin to filter back to their homes and businesses to assess damages, disaster response managers from the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (www.crwrc.org) are traveling east into the aftermath of Irene’s destruction.

Bill Adams, the agency’s director for Disaster Response Services (DRS), said Sunday morning that “Disaster response representatives will be arriving in Hyde County and Pamlico Sound, North Carolina, to meet with local officials, churches, and response partners, survey damage, and determine next steps. A Rapid Response team is being readied for deployment to the areas that are most in need.”

The hurricane, which hit North Carolina as a Category 1 storm yesterday morning, brought 74 mph winds and a foot of rain. While Irene landed with less vigor than forecasters predicted, the size of the slow-moving storm, 500 miles in diameter, caused flooding and power outages for more than four million people and continues to disrupt public services, fell trees, and damage structures all along low-lying areas of the northeastern seaboard.

North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, who declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, received a pre-landfall emergency declaration from President Obama’s office on Thursday last week, authorizing the release of National Guard troops into the area and pre-staging for emergency food and other supplies just outside the storm area.

Hurricane Irene’s size and slow movement, sustained winds, and rain over an extended period of time are causing most of the damage and flooding. Officials report that there have been 14 storm-related deaths thus far, most related to felled trees.

Before Hurricane Irene swept across the Atlantic seaboard this week, CRWRC worked in Hyde County, North Carolina, after Hurricane Isabel slammed the U.S. East Coast in 2003, helping stunned residents with clean up and long-term recovery.

“We have a commitment to the many families that we became acquainted with during the Hurricane Isabel recovery process,” Adams says. “We plan to check in on their well-being as soon as possible. In addition, our advance teams will check in with Christian Reformed congregations in New Jersey, as well as in North Carolina and other affected states.”

CRWRC is requesting financial donations for Hurricane Irene response. Gifts designated “Hurricanes 2011 North America” can be given online at www.crwrc.org, or phoned in to 1-800-55-CRWRC. Designated checks can be mailed to CRWRC, 2850 Kalamazoo Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49560-0600.

Members of the Press wishing to arrange an interview with Bill Adams can call cell 616-560-2872 or Beth DeGraff at cell 616-648-7821.

For more information about CRWRC Disaster Response Services and current activities in North America or internationally, go to www.crwrc.org and click on the Projects Menu.

CRWRC is a non-profit agency of the Christian Reformed Church in North America that ministers in development, relief, and justice education with people in need around the world since 1962.

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