Hurricane Trifecta: One Year After

Banner Image War Cry September 2018 Hurricane Trifecta

The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season seemed particularly brutal, especially during the month of September.

Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Service (EDS) personnel and volunteers from all four USA territories were stretched to the limit, not to mention available funding, responding to three savage storms: Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

To say these three hurricanes formed a “trifecta” is not a stretch of the definition. While Salvation Army EDS people feverishly worked in southeast Texas in the wake of Harvey, word was quickly spreading of a second monster storm named Irma which had crosshairs on the state of Florida. Florida divisional personnel had to leave Houston to go straight into harm’s way at home.

Within a fortnight, USA Eastern Territorial EDS workers had to pull out of Florida to address Maria’s horrendous damage and possible death tolls in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The predictions made by the U.S. Weather Service came all too true. All three weather patterns became sure bets that no one wanted.

In the September issue of the War Cry we revisit the three divisions nearly crippled by tropical cyclones exactly one year later. Long-term recovery in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands (PRVI) Divisions are well underway, although an argument could be made that conditions in PRVI are still so dire that the first phase normally conducted by EDS continues in pockets of the islands.

Three common denominators are evident. Each of the three divisions is looking at 3-5 years of long-term recovery, with the arrival of another hurricane season, the public’s mood is close to panic; but, most importantly, the ongoing work of The Salvation Army has and always will be performed in the name of Christ.

HURRICANE HARVEY — RESHAPE, RESTORE, REBUILD

For a 350-mile bend of the Lone Star coastline—from Corpus Christi to Orange— Hurricane Harvey wasn’t just “passing through.” He came to stay for nearly a week, coming ashore first near Aransas Pass and then hugging the coastline all the way up to Port Arthur.

Image of a Women's Ministry Group

Although the Port Arthur Corps no longer exists, thanks to Hurricane Harvey, a Women’s Ministry group continues to grow and meets regularly at the EDS center.

Image of Sarah Smith

As warehouse director, Sarah Smith keeps inventory constantly moving between donors and families receiving in-kind assistance needed due to Hurricane Harvey.

HURRICANE IRMA — LONG-TERM OPERATIONS DELIVER ‘LASTING HOPE’

A fleet of the Florida Division’s Salvation Army Canteens were into a week of serving families victimized by Hurricane Harvey when there was news of another high-category storm—Hurricane Irma—that had the Sunshine State as a possible landfall.

Image of Sarah Rafiq

Sarah Rafiq is a caseworker at the Bonita Springs Mission Station.

Image of Mother, Daughter and Granddaughter

Three generations living in this home can move back in after repairs are completed.

HURRICANE MARIA — RESILANCE REQUIRED

The Puerto Rico—Virgin Islands (PRVI) Division, this corner of paradise, was a victim to two major tropical cyclones within a fortnight during this cruel 2017 Hurricane Season.

Image of Captain Kevin Bryan and Elderly Resident

St. Thomas Corps Officers, Captains Kevin & Christa Bryan, distribute some 60 meals each day to elderly residents living near the corps.

Image of Makeshift Thrift Store

When their thrift store was left uninhabitable after Hurricane Maria, a makeshift thrift store was opened in front of the St. Thomas Corps building.

Get your copy of the September 2018 issue of the War Cry for the full report. Available at your local corps or subscribe at thewarcry.org/subscribe.