Diakon Disaster Response on the ground in Maryland

Diakon Disaster Response on the ground in Maryland

Crisfield, Md. Monday July 15, 2013

On Oct. 29 of last year, Superstorm Sandy moved ashore near Ocean City, Md., causing millions of dollars in damage. While much of Maryland's Eastern Shore was spared from its effects, the little town of Crisfield was left underwater.

Crisfield, Md., is surrounded by water on three sides of the city. When Sandy hit, hundreds of businesses and homes were flooded and ultimately condemned. With little support from government, many residents of this small, quaint town turned to other resources to help with their rebuilding process.

Representatives of Lutheran Partners in Disaster Response (LPDR), a partnership between Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries and The Lutheran Mission Society and their affiliated church bodies, were on the scene in Crisfield within two weeks to observe firsthand the devastation caused by the storm and determine the needs of the residents. Lutheran Disaster Responses focuses on long-term assistance, rather than immediate emergency response, to disasters.

“We would like to think we will be there until the end, but additional funding is going to be needed.”

Before any work began, the Rev. Cindy Camp, director of Disaster Response Ministries for Diakon, says there was a substantial amount of legwork involved—and many questions to answer. “What damage has been done? How can we get people back to normal living situations? These are some of the things we had to ask before anything could be done.”

Initially, only 10 homes in Crisfield were considered complete losses. But after a comprehensive assessment was conducted, the number skyrocketed—to 130 homes. With $55,000 in grant money from Lutheran Disaster Response, the rebuilding process began with the help of hundreds of LPDR volunteers. Groundbreaking was held on the first two houses June 2.

With conditions ever-changing, Camp thinks that reconstruction could take up to two years. “We continue to look at unmet needs in a constantly changing situation,” she says. “A lot has been done, but there is a lot more to do.”

There is, however, a strong sense among volunteers that recovery is happening. Yet Camp says recovery will involve a long process. “We would like to think we will be there until the end, but additional funding is going to be needed.”

For more information on or to donate to the rebuilding efforts in Crisfield, please visit www.ldr.org.

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