February 13th, 2007 13:12 EST
Two By Two: FEMA, Faith-based Group Help Flood Ravaged Couple
LACEY, Wash. -- Sheriff’s deputies arrived by boat in the middle of the night to rescue a Lewis County couple as the Cowlitz River rose out of its banks during the November 2-11 floods. The flood destroyed the old RV they lived in, along with all their livestock—the six goats, six rabbits and 21 chickens that supplemented their food supply.
Cutting out a new channel across their property, the river washed away their animals and pens and carved a trench across their road. A FEMA grant will fund repairs to their washed out road that’s being fixed by a contractor who will do the job below cost.
When a Disaster Recovery Center opened in nearby Packwood, the wife went in looking for assistance. The DRC staff got them registered and set them up for special needs assistance.
A housing grant from FEMA helped them obtain another trailer – but no animals.
Members of The Chapel congregation heard about the couple’s plight. Some animals were donated. Others were bought with cash donations. A total of nine goats, 10 rabbits and 33 chickens were recently delivered to the couple’s property. Three volunteers, all over the age of 70, helped to set up a temporary fence to keep the animals contained until more permanent pens could be built from materials bought with donations. Along with the building materials and animals, a month’s supply of feed for the livestock and six bales of hay were delivered.
The couple had been living without running water or electricity. They operated a generator three hours a day to maintain the temperature in their freezer, and while the generator ran they watched old movies on their VCR. After the flood, all that is left is the damaged generator that is being replaced with FEMA assistance. They recently moved into their ‘new’ 32-foot travel trailer with pull out rooms. Even though they are very happy and thankful for all they have gotten in the recovery process there is still a long list of very practical needs to be met. The congregation is working on the list.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with State and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.