Posted by: Fritz | September 25, 2008

Hurricane Ike in the Midwest

10 days. That is how long some Louisvillians were without power due to hurricane Ike. Yes, I said Louisville, Kentucky. 630 miles from the Gulf Coast (Destin, FL, Louisville’s favorite spring break town), Louisville faced a massive wind storm from the remnants of Ike on Sunday, September 14th that knocked out power for over 300,000 customers in the city. Schools were closed for a week, as were many businesses. Somehow the Ryder Cup golf tournament was able to take place.

Louisville’s Courier-Journal had a front page article about how the wind storm was hitting the poor and elder especially hard. This was not news to me. Here at the NCC we’ve been talking for quite a while that vulnerable populations like people living in poverty have and will continue to bear the hardest burden of the impact of climate change. Simply put, they don’t have the resources in reserve that others do. When you are on food stamps and the food you bought spoils, you don’t have a backup.

Reading that article and knowing my family in Louisville and the rest of our neighborhood, including the food pantry where I use to work, was still without power I decided I needed to go home from DC and help.

John, the regular Dare to Care volunteer at UCHM (United Crescent Hill Ministries) and I worked Friday afternoon unloading and storing about two and a half tons of food that was delivered that day. We also prepared boxes for distribution to the record number of families that showed up for help. It was one of those crazy days. I was exhausted by the time we were done. John and the other volunteers as well as the staff at places like UCHM do this hard work every week, if not every day. Our communities could not be what they are without them.

I was glad I made the decision to go home and help. As always, I felt better because of it. I never thought that hurricane damage on this scale could occur over 600 miles from the coast. While we can’t directly attribute Ike to climate change we do know that more frequent and intense weather events like this will occur as the Earth continues to warm.

I also felt better about the work we do here in DC, organizing people of faith to advocate for legislation dealing with climate change and its impacts. Linking activism with direct service is very much an appropriate and wholistic way to live out our faith.

Everyone in Louisville has power back on now, but the economic hardship is not over. People will continue to need to replace the food they lost. FEMA is in the process of determining if Louisville qualifies for disaster assistance. And the local (European owned) utility company is determining when and how much it will increase rates to cover the costs of the storm.

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Responses

  1. I lost my home to a flood 2 years ago and started a blog at http://harvardtohardhat.com/ to help others with insurance negotiation and home restoration advice. Please share it with others you know who may need help as a result of the hurricane.


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