As the flood waters recede–slow as that is–our focus shifts from survival to recovery. Having weathered a few of these storms, now arriving with increased frequency, we know that recovery has only just begun. Indeed, some in our state haven’t recovered from Hurricane Matthew or Isabel or Floyd or Fran. How does one recover what is erased from existence?
These storms also uncover social and economic ills that stay hidden as long as “the creek don’t rise.” We’ve seen it before in the litany of storms recited above. Those who have the least often suffer the most.
In the days ahead, we must certainly focus on emergency needs–safe drinking water comes readily to mind–and rudimentary relief efforts–helping our neighbors get that tree out of the living room. But in the days that follow, we must maintain our focus on those whose limited resources make their recovery less certain.
There are not limitless supplies of people power or charitable contributions, so use both of those wisely. Work through reputable organizations (many of them church based) that will reach the people who most need to be reached with your financial contributions. When the time comes and you have the physical strength to offer it, work with folks who are managing their own rebuilding or relocation plans with no expectation of large insurance payments.
Please check with your own denomination to see where their energy is going. If you don’t have that resource, here is a good place to start: North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church.
We’ll be talking about this storm for years to come, even if another storm like it follows in a few years (it’s only been 23 months since we were talking about Matthew). As the months and years roll past, let us be vigilant with our recovery support, supporting those who needed our help before the storm ever had a name.