Returning Evacuees to Assess Status of Phoenix Homes

Post a Comment » Written on September 2nd, 2008     
Filed under: News
MINNEAPOLIS, MN (September 2, 2008) – Houses built in Phoenix, Louisiana, stood a good chance of surviving Hurricane Gustav – even if the storm had remained at its original category three rating – but the fate of the structures won’t be known until at least this evening, Jim Sundholm, director of Covenant World Relief, said late Monday night.

“All of our contacts have been evacuated so we have to wait for them to get back,” Sundholm said.

Since Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast three years ago, More than 2,000 members of Evangelical Covenant churches from across the country have helped reconstruct homes in Phoenix, a small community in Plaquemines Parish located just south of New Orleans.

Sundholm said the new homes were less likely to flood because they were built on four-foot-high foundations. He added that the storm surge that nearly wiped out Phoenix was nearly 30 feet high, and surges from Gustav were less than half that.

Parish officials were concerned that a levee 30 miles north of Phoenix would break, but Sundholm said he hoped the extensive canal networks would limit any possible damage to Phoenix.

CWR recently finish spending $1.1 million that Covenanters had donated to help with relief and reconstruction of Phoenix. Work also has recently expanded to homes around Port Sulphur, also in Plaquemines Parish. Sundholm said he expects the construction there to be relatively safe from the storm as well.

Funds probably will not be needed to help evacuees due to the orderly evacuation and government preparations. The lessons learned also may have reduced the need for assistance from churches.

Hope Community Church in Houston, Texas, helped three families forced to their city by Katrina, but said Monday night that their assistance had not been needed due to the early evacuations. The three families that Hope assisted have since relocated to Houston.

Nearly two million people evacuated the Gulf Coast before Gustav struck. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff reminded residents Monday night that they should not return to their homes until advised that it is safe to do so. More than 800,000 people in Louisiana were without power, and Governor Bobby Jindal said two weeks may be needed before power can be restored.

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