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CWS SPEEDS CLEANUP KITS TO LOUISIANA, ALSO ASSISTS FLOOD RECOVERY IN TEXAS

Contributions for flood recovery may be sent to Church World Service, Attn. Texas-Louisiana Flooding, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. Phone pledges/credit card donations: 1-800-297-1516.

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Church World Service is overnighting 100 CWS "Gift of the Heart" Cleanup Kits to the Terrebonne (Louisiana) Readiness and Assistance Coalition (TRAC) to help Louisiana householders recover from severe flooding, and is working with other interfaith groups and church leaders across Texas and Louisiana on flood recovery. The kits, assembled in churches across the United States, include basic cleaning supplies.

The death toll from the flooding in Texas and Louisiana caused by Tropical Storm Allison has now reached 20, and initial damage estimates remain in the range of $1 billion in the Houston area alone, reports CWS’s Emergency Response Office. In Louisiana, the total damage was at least $15 million. Initial estimates indicate that at least 1,200 and perhaps as many as 3,500 homes in Louisiana were damaged by water and mud.

Velma Watson (504-851-2952; vwatson@cajun.net) of TRAC, a long-time interfaith and CWS partner, reported that initial assessments were continuing but confirmed damage was major. "We’ve got a lot of it," she said. "We can’t even get into some areas yet." Rainfall in Louisiana averaged between 20-40 inches.

One feature of this disaster, Watson said, is that many of those whose homes have been damaged are in areas that had not before been affected by flooding. Many of those whose homes were damaged in the Lafourche area, for example, did not have flood insurance because their homes were on a "100-year" flood plain, Watson said.

"A lot of them are real depressed," she added. TRAC is convening an unmet needs committee meeting on Thursday, June 14, that will include representatives of the faith community. CWS is seeking to raise $45,000 to assist with initial interfaith development costs and assistance.

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