From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Texas Conference begins flood recovery

From NewsDesk <NewsDesk@UMCOM.UMC.ORG>
Date 28 Oct 1998 12:30:33

Oct. 28, 1998	Contact: Joretta Purdue*(202)546-8722*Washington

NOTE: This story may be used with UMNS #626 and #626, distributed Oct.
27, and photographs are available. Also, the spelling of Steffani Jacks'
name is correct.

By United Methodist News Service

The heavy rains that hit lower Texas Oct. 17-19 came a little later to
the region covered by the United Methodist Church's Texas Annual
Conference, and the flooding in that area also receded later.

The conference is to the east and north of the hard-hit Southwest Texas
Annual (regional) Conference, which encompasses all of the large
southern tip of the state.

Some areas of the Texas Conference were accessible on Oct 21. However,
it was Oct. 25 before the flood waters crested in Wharton, on the east
side of the Colorado River, according to the Rev. Steffani Jacks of
Houston, the conference disaster response coordinator. The city of
40,000 was the last in the conference to see the waters recede.

Work teams were out Oct. 24 to help clean up areas that had been flooded
earlier in the week. The Rev. Mike Holcomb of the East Bernard United
Methodist Church led a work team in that San Bernard River community of

The Rev. Lawrence Culbertson led a United Methodist youth group in
making and distributing sandwiches to people who were in the flooded
areas of the Cypress community, northwest of Houston. Sunday school
classes from the church formed work teams to help clean up flooded

Before the teams were allowed to go into these areas, Jacks showed them
a warning video and made sure everyone had up-to-date tetanus shots. 

"This water is contaminated," she said. "There's a lot of things in
there that can make you sick." 

Volunteers also were warned to watch out for rats and poisonous snakes
that were displaced by the floodwaters.

First United Methodist Church in Wharton, where the Rev. William E.
Jenkins is minister, became the disaster-response headquarters for that

The Federal Emergency Management Agency was still setting up service
centers as of Oct. 26, and assessment was still under way in many areas,
Jacks said.

A disaster response coordinator from the United Methodist Committee on
Relief (UMCOR) was expected to arrive and help the conference develop a
long-term recovery plan. Jacks noted that the conference disaster
response team had experience with flooding in 1994, so it was ready this

More work teams will be needed in the months to come, she predicted, and
she expects to draw on United Methodists from outside the conference.
Meanwhile, an interfaith committee has scheduled its first meeting to
deal with unmet needs.

United Methodist News Service
Releases and photos also available at

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