Lasts a few days
Saving lives by moving people out of harm’s way and responding to medical emergencies. Clearing debris from main roads for emergency vehicles and supplies.
Lasts a few weeks
Providing food, clothing, shelter / temporary housing, and medical attention. Restoring utilities, tarping roofs, and beginning clean-up. Housing outside contractors.
Can last for years
Long term; Begins with outreach to affected area and ends when everyone is made whole. Rebuilding homes and businesses, restoring the local economy, providing mental health services
Our Executive Director provides details on WARM's Hurricane Florence recovery process.
Hurricane Florence Updates
After the Storm: Update #1 to our Partners and Supporters
There are several models of the disaster response chain. I like this one because all the words begin with Re!
Developing plans for responding to natural, manmade, and technical disasters. Includes mitigating risk and taking steps to prevent certain disasters.
As you may know, WARM’s role is long term recovery. To give you an idea of how long hurricane recovery takes: six and a half years after Hurricane Irene, repairs on the last storm damaged home were completed. We were still in the middle of recovering from Hurricane Matthew (October 2016) when Florence hit.
Here’s what we’ve been up to the past few weeks:
Assessments & Quick Action
When Florence came through, 22 homes rebuilds were underway; several of those had been damaged by Hurricane Matthew. In addition, we had a pre-storm waiting list of 174 qualified homeowners. The first week we were open, we called all of them; 91 reported additional damage due to Hurricane Florence. New applications are being accepted as well.
We have been sending out volunteer teams to handle small jobs: patching roofs, installing tarps, and completing emergency repairs such as rebuilding a well pump that was crushed by a tree, so the family has water service again.
For large jobs, our assessment team is in the process of visiting each site, preparing cost estimates, and scheduling volunteers.
The NC General Assembly goes into an extra session this month to respond to damage caused by Hurricane Florence. They are expected to pass a bill for Hurricane Florence relief much like the Disaster Recovery Act of 2016 (DRA 2016) after Hurricane Matthew. The NC Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA) administers the Housing Trust Fund and DRA 2016 added $20 million to the Housing Trust Fund for rehabilitation on owner-occupied dwellings. NCHFA is working with DRA 2016 grantees such as WARM to develop a Hurricane Florence recovery program that will enable us to qualify more people and serve them faster.
The state money will require applicants to exhaust other resources first, such as homeowner’s insurance and FEMA awards. FEMA denies most people the first time they apply, so WARM personnel review the reasons for denial with the applicant and help them apply again.
United Way of the Cape Fear Area and Wilmington Chamber have organized a community response; WARM is actively engaged in this coordinated effort to draw on each other's strengths and avoid duplication. Local churches of various denominations include WARM in their planning meetings; they offer volunteers, funding, and lodging for out-of-area volunteer teams.
As you may know, WARM hosts volunteers from all over the country who travel here on church mission trips and university alternative break trips. Many of them are planning a second trip this fall to help with Florence recovery efforts.
WARM has added two construction positions to accommodate the influx of volunteers and help people faster. To find out about our open positions, click here.
With rebuild budgets ranging from $30-50,000 per flooded home, WARM’s leaders are extremely grateful for the community support! Fundraisers have ranged from lemonade stands and bake sales to a community-wide concert. It seems everyone is using their resources and gifts to help those impacted by Florence. Check out our upcoming fundraisers
We are submitting grant applications and corporate sponsorship requests. And our annual Harvest events will also benefit storm survivors.
Private donations from these initiatives enable us to move quickly and are required as part of our application for state funds.
The Big Picture
At one of our community meetings, the FEMA representative described the agency’s role to assist in emergency situations, not to take responsibility for the entire response chain. He said, “FEMA is not designed to make you whole.” But WARM is designed to make people whole. And we will hold the hand of everyone on our list until their recovery is complete. I hope you will be with us.