Early Response Team helps following floods in Plymouth, PA

ERT TeamThis photos is of Eastern PA Conference disaster responders, and includes two Evangelical Lutheran responders who have been trained by our ERT trainers, (their Conference responded to the need at the same time). The team helped clear homes following the July 3 flash flood in our neighboring Susquehanna Conference.

The presence of Christ (and some practical help!) has been taken to victims of the July 3 flash flood in Plymouth, PA by members of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Early Response Teams.

Greg Ellis, Disaster Response Coordinator for the Northeast District, was called for assistance by the American Red Cross shortly after the flood, which affected approximately 150 homes.

The area received 10 inches of rain in about 2 1/2 hours, and both newer drainage infrastructure, as well as the old that it replaced, failed to protect those properties from the raging water. One of the householders our group assisted took this video footage of the water swirling through his front yard:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqNLMu2rdjE

Representatives from the governor’s office were present, Senator Casey toured the damaged area, and FEMA officials were present but the community still needed hands-on help to begin its recovery. The UMC District Superintendent for the Plymouth area and the Bishop of the Susquehanna Conference also arrived to tour and to assist.

Eastern Pennsylvania Conference volunteers – initially 5 who arrived on scene last Friday (7/8) – were joined by another 7 on Saturday.  They brought 85 flood buckets, which were distributed by the local volunteer fire dept and the Salvation Army. (These are in need of replacement – if your congregations can help with that it would be greatly appreciated. A list of specific items to go in the buckets can be found at  http://gbgm-umc.org/umcor/print/kits/floodbucket.pdf .)

Our volunteers were assigned to focus on four homes on a single block, helping assess damage and do initial debris removal preparatory to clean-up and repairs. One home was not inhabited and was so damaged that engineers will have to determine if it can be made safe; our volunteers cleared debris in that yard so that any further rain would not cause more damage to the structure. They worked at the other three, helping to clear debris and remove mud from basements and yard areas; approximately a ton of mud was removed from one basement.

Two full work days were put in, then the crew worshipped at Dorranceton UMC, which had been their host. The work was not completed – a list of remaining tasks for those three homes was givent to disaster coordinators at the Red Cross, who will assign them to other volunteers.

Click here to read Greg Ellis’s report to the local pastor and to the Susquehanna Conference. There is a plan to continue to monitor needs and coordinate with other faith-based groups; we will let you know if additional teams are required.

Please let your congregations know that ERT training is coming up in September should they want to be part of similar response to needs in the future. Have them contact us, or Bob Simcox, our Conference ERT Director.

Gary & Lynn Jaeger, East District Disaster Coordinators
Gary L. Jaeger C.S.M.  Lynn C. Jaeger M.S. 

gljaeger@live.com       lynncjaeger@live.com
#267-259-7026            #215-253-9930