Christian, governmental and humanitarian relief groups began heading back toward Florida as Hurricane Jeanne tore a new path of destruction, flooding and death, Sept 27, 2004. According to reports from most national relief agencies, this season’s Hurricane recovery effort is expected to be the largest in scale in both manpower and money.
"Once again, we're facing a hurricane/tropical storm that's just wreaking havoc wherever it goes," said Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Michael Brown. "We have some people in Florida who have been hit two or three times now by these hurricanes. They have to be miserable right now."
According to Brown, 5,000-plus relief workers in 15 states have been dispatched, making this year’s hurricane effort larger than any response in FEMA’s history.
The Salvation Army spent over $10 million for the short term and long term recovery efforts to the first three hurricanes alone. The London-based Christian relief group, which mobilized over 2,5000 volunteers over the past weeks, said some $40 million will be necessary to fully assist the victims.
Hurricane Jeanne marks the fourth hurricane to have pummeled through the peninsular state in the past two months. Tragically, Jeanne landed on the same area that was hit three weeks ago by Hurricane Frances, wreaking more havoc on the thousands residents and businesses that were barely beginning to recover.
According to Martin County Commissioner Doug Smith, Jeanne left few buildings in his county unscarred because Frances had weakened them and subsequent rain connected to Hurricane Ivan had saturated the ground.
"Everything has been compromised to some extent," Smith said on Monday. "We have lost a lot more structures this time."
At Monday morning’s count, some 6 people had lost their lives through the storm and some 2.3 million homes and businesses were without power.
More than 3,000 National Guard troop were deployed to aid relief efforts by Monday, and the thousands of Christian-based volunteers – from the Salvation army, Southern Baptist Convention and other denominations – have also been deployed.
The Rev. Kristin Sachen, program head of emergency services for UMCOR – the United Methodist Church’s relief arm, said more volunteers and more donations are desperately needed.
"The offering plate needs to go around many times" in a season of multiple storms, Sachen said, "in order to ensure that we can offer hope and healing to all who count on UMCOR."
To give to UMCOR, please visit: www.MethodistRelief.org. Donations can also be made to the Southern Baptist Convention at www.namb.org/dr and to the Salvation Army at www.salvationarmyflorida.org.