Disaster rebuilds continue

Published 9:30 pm Thursday, May 8, 2014



Washington Daily News

The United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry has been on the ground in eastern North Carolina since September 2011, rebuilding over 600 homes and building 10 new houses after Hurricane Irene. Now, volunteers with the disaster recovery organization, led by Rev. Cliff Harvell, is helping victims of Beaufort County’s April tornadoes.

After a disaster like the tornado that tore through Beaufort County, The United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry asks parishioners for financial help to assist in building new houses for those whose homes have been destroyed or uninhabitable. All the supplies to rebuild the houses are purchased by the church group through donations from churches, along with grants and aide the homeowner receives from the state or federal governments.

“We have to raise the money, but we first utilize the monies the clients (homeowners) receive from insurance or FEMA or whatever resource is available,” Harvell said. “We utilize their funding first, then we have to raise the funds to take care of the (financial) short fall.”

In his role with the disaster recovery group, Harvell has helped people build or rebuild homes from Beaufort County all the way to the Outer Banks, drawing on a network of volunteers who travel from across the country to volunteer in areas in need. Volunteers assist not only with their time, but helping affected families through their own donations.

“We set up and operation where we can house the teams and they have a place to stay and cook their own meals,” Harvell said. “We don’t charge them anything, but we ask them to bring things with them so we can keep the projects going.”

With all the recent natural disasters in eastern North Carolina, Harvell has been working with the federal and local agencies that deal in storm damage to find those people that he and his volunteers can help.

“A lot of our clients come to us in very beginning, but we cannot get to everybody,” Harvell said. “Naturally somebody is going to be first and somebody is going to be last, so we just start working through that case load.”

Sixty volunteers are currently assisting with the tornado cleanup, but there is still a need for financial and volunteer support, Harvell said.

For more information, to donate or volunteer, contact Harvell at cliffharvell@nccumc.org.