From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Newsline: Brethren disaster staff reflect on Hurricane Katrina

From "COBNews Newsline" <>
Date Thu, 14 Sep 2006 14:53:23 -0500

Title: Brethren disaster staff reflect on Hurricane Katrina Sept. 14, 2006 Church of the Brethren News Service Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, News Director 800-323-8039 ext. 260 --


Sept. 14, 2006 (Elgin, IL) -- Church of the Brethren Disaster Response continues to rebuild and repair homes on the Gulf coast following the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina a year ago. Aug. 29 marked the first anniversary of Katrina's heartrending devastation.

Although the storm made landfall in southeastern Louisiana, heavy damage can be found within a 100-mile radius of the storm's center in Mississippi and Alabama, as well as in Louisiana, reports Brethren Disaster Response, a program of the Church of the Brethren General Board. "The official death toll attributed to Katrina has climbed to 1,836, making Katrina the deadliest hurricane since 1928," said Jane Yount, Brethren Disaster Response coordinator, in a Sept. 1 update. "Katrina is also by far the costliest hurricane in US history, with $75 billion in damages. An estimated 350,000 homes were destroyed and many thousands more damaged."

"With the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina behind us, we are thankful for all the volunteers who have followed Jesus' call to be His hands and His feet," said Zach Wolgemuth, associate director of Emergency Response. "As we head into the second year since one of our nation's worst natural disasters, communities and longterm recovery organizations are organizing and beginning the process of rebuilding. The demand for the services provided by Church of the Brethren Disaster Response is great," he added.

Brethren Disaster Response is in the process of opening a new project site in Louisiana, and likely will open another site on the Gulf coast this winter, staff report. This is in addition to the current project site in Mississippi and one in Pensacola, Fla., following Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Hurricane Dennis in 2005.

The new site in St. Tammany Parish, La., is scheduled to open Oct. 15. St. Tammany Parish is northeast of New Orleans on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. "As a result of the rainfall and storm surge, the level of Lake Pontchartrain rose and caused significant flooding along its northeastern shore, affecting the town of Slidell and surrounding communities," Yount reported.

Brethren Disaster Response has been in conversation with the longterm recovery committee in St. Tammany Parish--Northshore Recovery, Inc.-- and the group is eager for assistance, Yount said. Work will include all types of major repairs to homes that have incurred flood and wind damage, along with some debris clean up and demolition.

Preparations are underway for two Brethren Disaster Response trainings for volunteer leadership this fall. Twenty-five people have responded to the invitation to attend hands-on, two-week trainings at Pensacola on Oct. 1-14 and at Lucedale on Oct. 22-Nov. 4. Participants will learn all aspects of managing a disaster response project including construction, safety, volunteer management, hospitality, and cooking; trainees will be prepared to take the roles of disaster project director, disaster project assistant, or household manager.

For more information go to

The Church of the Brethren is a Christian denomination committed to continuing the work of Jesus peacefully and simply, and to living out its faith in community. The denomination is based in the Anabaptist and Pietist faith traditions and is one of the three Historic Peace Churches. It celebrates its 300th anniversary in 2008. It counts about 130,000 members across the United States and Puerto Rico, and has missions and sister churches in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Nigeria.

# # #

For more information contact:

Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford Director of News Services Church of the Brethren General Board 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120 800-323-8039 ext. 260

********************************************************** To receive Church of the Brethren news via an e-mail list serv, go to

Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home