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Some TX homes hit hard by Bret

BY GEORGE PIPER | FALFURRIAS, TX | September 3, 1999

FALFURRIAS, TX (Sept. 3, 1999) -- While most of the Texas gulf

coast dodged the destructive winds and rains of Hurricane Bret,

pockets of devastation remain in some hard-hit communities.

Falfurrias, where Bret's eye passed over in the early morning on

Aug. 23, bore most of the damage. Six homes were destroyed with 39

sustaining major damage and another 159 with minor damage.

Faith-based relief organizations plan to hire a local case manager

to assist survivors in the recovery. The estimated $15,000, six-month

program is being funded by Church World Service (CWS), United

Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Lutheran Disaster Response

(LDR) and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA).

"We're working on (the interfaith effort) next week to get that up

and going," said Richard Evans, an UMCOR disaster resource

specialist. UMCOR and the UM Southwest Texas Conference are

coordinating volunteer efforts.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials this week began

assessing homes in Falfurrias to see which ones may qualify for

individual assistance, said Evans. The interfaith will concentrate on

survivors' unmet needs. "We think we'll have quite a bit to do," he


In Driscoll, located southwest of Corpus Christi, and the coastal

town of Port Mansfield, around 100 homes in each community sustained

wind and water damage. Evans is talking with local congregations in

those communities to gauge support for an interfaith and determine

what the needs will be in those towns.

Heavy rains also caused some flooding and water damage in The

Colonias, a Laredo neighborhood that is home to many low-income

residents. CWS's initial plan is to support local congregations with

money for supplies and materials needed for recovery.

In late August, UMCOR shipped cleanup kits and supplies to

Laredo's flood survivors. The shipment included about 350 each of

flood buckets, mops, and brooms. Additional materials such as,

linens, paper products, shovels, box fans, food, and power washers

were also included in the shipment.

Evans said he is pleased with the support so far, and is

encouraged that other congregations appear interested in aiding the

recovery effort.

"Right now, it seems like we might have a pretty good presence,"

he said. "It's really encouraging if we can get that many."

Posted Sept. 3, 1999

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