There is never enough volunteers when it comes to disaster relief. |Daniel Elkins, Bellefonte Lions Club.
WILMINGTON (DE) BY GEORGE SHEA, PHOTOJOURNALIST: It was Wednesday night September 1, 2021, when Hurricane Ida passed through Delaware during the overnight hours. The storm brought heavy rains and high winds as it reached the city of Wilmington causing flash floods in low lying areas such as the Brandywine River.
It would become the most historic storm that caused flash floods that Wilmington has felt in the past 100 years.
In the city’s east side neighborhoods, cars were seen partially submerged under water as were area businesses including shopping centers, and according to Wilmington Fire Department, more than 50 people were rescued from their homes on Vandever Avenue between N. Claymont Street and Bowers Streets early Thursday morning.
City officials later speculated that more than 200 residents had been rescued from their homes during the course of the storm.
Following the devastating storm, more than twenty organizations came forward to help the residents impacted by the storm. Many of the residents who had to abandon their homes during the storm, won’t be able to return to their homes. These are people who lost everything.
These organizations are in partnership with the Delaware Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (DEVOAD), these services are performed by volunteers and will be provided at no cost to the resident. Service is not guaranteed, and resources are limited.
“It’s a difficult task to pull lives and properties back together again following natural and unexpected disasters,” said City of Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. “The past several days have tested the ability of the community and government to come together as quickly as possible to assist affected residents and businesses. We have a great deal of work to do, but the City and State are committed to the tasks and challenges ahead.”
But these non profit organizations are struggling to keep volunteers and more than ever they need your help.
“Anytime there’s a disaster like this there’s a lot of help and support on the front end, people helping with the initial clean up, but it’s the long term, continual wrap around support that these communities needs.,” Said Daniel Elkins with the Belfonte Lions Club.
When asked about the current volunteer support, Elkins said there is never enough volunteers when it comes to disaster relief.
“There is never enough volunteers when it comes to disaster relief. A lot of people will see the initial flooding and will want to come and help out, but this is the type of thing that there will be a need for volunteers for the next six months, the next year., Elkins said.
“The Delaware Volunteer organizations, DEVOAD have been out here almost every day doing something, trying to do something for the community,” Elkins added. “So please, if you are looking to help out, look up DEVOAD on Facebook, or the Bellefonte Lions Club and please get in touch so we can help the communities in need.”
According to DVOAD’s Facebook page, “Well, last Saturday was the last of our Ida Flooding Volunteer Work Days, only a few hardy souls showed up on a beautiful day in October to help with debris clearing, muck-outs and mold remediation. Some good, helpful wok was done along N Heald St, but several residents had to be contacted and told that insufficient volunteers had shown up to be able to help them.
I know that we are competing with other fun activities that occur at this time of year, and an external look at the 11th Street bridge community looks like things are rapidly returning to normal, with flooded cars towed away and mud sprayed off. But looks can be deceiving! Inside, many of these homes have exposed studs where soiled drywall was stripped away, and bare floors are in evidence where soaked carpets were ripped up. In some, mold continues to grow and spread, creating an expanding health hazard to residents.
DEVOAD will continue to attempt to help the residents of this resilient community struck by a flooding disaster. If you or your group have a day, or morning, or afternoon in which you can help, please contact out Field Lead, Marty Brett, at (302) 357-7396, and he will try and connect you with a resident who needs assistance, and facilitate a work day.”