By Roger Drinnon
As a surge of after-flood waters from the recent deluge in South Carolina comes down the mountains and moves out to sea, LCMS Disaster Response is helping the LCMS Southeastern District conduct essential damage assessments.
Ongoing assessments are revealing more flood damage in the aftermath of torrential rainstorms than initial reports indicated for South Carolina and other affected areas. Even more damage likely will be identified, once currently inaccessible areas become accessible. Flooding from the recent storms led to road closures, power and communications outages and various other hazardous conditions that have hampered damage-assessment efforts.
“Initially, some pastors only reported minor damage from flooding,” said Southeastern District President Rev. John Denninger. “Now, massive amounts of floodwater from [overflowing] rivers, breaking dams and from the mountains are causing more damage throughout the district.”
Due to the developing situation, Denninger said it is imperative for pastors in affected areas to continue assessing and reporting the conditions of their respective communities, even though many already have reported initial damage assessments.
“Keep checking in and keep looking for neighbors who might otherwise be overlooked,” he said.
“I’m living in a hotel for now, since my house flooded, and I don’t have flood insurance,” said Victoria Grabowksi of Sommerville, S.C. “My house took on 2 feet of water and my car is a total loss.”
Grabowski said the disaster is even more exasperating for her as a single mom who normally works two jobs to make ends meet. Grabowski’s mother, Beth Green, conveyed her daughter’s situation to the LCMS via the Synod’s Facebook page, prompting LCMS Social Media Manager Peter Slayton to relay Grabowski’s information to Synod and district officials.
Denninger said LCMS Disaster Response already has come alongside the Southeastern District to help provide gift cards to purchase food and other essentials as well as temporary housing for flood victims in need.
“The Rev. Michael Meyer, disaster-response manager for the LCMS Office of National Mission [ONM], has deployed to assist with the assessments,” said the Rev. Ross Johnson, the ONM’s director of Disaster Response. “In addition to walking alongside the Southeastern District responders to assess damage, he also can assist in offering spiritual care and the comfort of the Gospel for the flood victims.”
Johnson said once the damage assessments are completed, LCMS Disaster Response will move to ensure that trained teams are prepared and equipped to respond rapidly and provide the most effective assistance for the flood victims.
“The Synod will continue working alongside the Southeastern District and its congregations to formulate a measured, intentional and effective response for those most affected by the flooding,” said Johnson.
To make a gift for disaster relief, visit lcms.org/givenow/disaster.
See a related photo gallery, “LCMS Disaster Response responds to flooding in South Carolina.”
See a related video, “LCMS disaster assessment begins.”
Roger Drinnon (email@example.com) is manager of Editorial Services for LCMS Communications.
Posted Oct. 7, 2015 / Updated Oct. 12, 2015