How do communities recover from disaster during a disaster? It takes perseverance. And trusted partnerships.
Our Hurricane Florence recovery efforts in Burgaw, NC have been slowed by the pandemic, but Rebuilding Together of the Triangle (RTT), along with our partners at F3 Raleigh – is still pushing forward. Although we have suspended volunteer operations and are minimizing contact with homeowners, our staff and subcontractors continue to work daily with social distancing and other safety measures in place. F3 Raleigh leadership, which has mobilized volunteers to travel to Burgaw every Saturday for nearly 18 months, will remain involved and supportive, but in a less hands-on way. They continue to assist with fundraising and promoting the work we have done together to enable us to help more families touched by disaster – in Burgaw and beyond.
RTT chose to manage risk instead of avoid it entirely, says executive director Dan Sargent, because some storm affected homeowners are still living in FEMA trailers. “The clock is ticking on a mid-June government deadline, which could leave some families homeless,” he says. “We couldn’t just walk away, waiting for risk to subside.”
Consider Jackie, a retired nonprofit director and widow.
Hurricane Florence occurred 20 months ago. That may seem like a lifetime ago since the coronavirus disaster struck. But for Jackie and her family, who have been living in cramped camping trailers, it undoubtedly seems longer.
As is the case in many disaster recovery situations, the family had no idea where to begin after the flood. Jackie pulled together many of the resources needed, and RTT has assisted with guidance, scheduling, manpower, and a portion of the construction materials.
Jackie’s family soon will be moving into a home that is even safer and more efficient than it was before the hurricane. If not for support of our partners, Jackie says her family would have had to leave the land she has called home for 45 years. Instead, they are looking forward to returning to their rebuilt home this summer.