BETA

Hurricane Irene: Preparedness pays off for East Coast stakes

In October 2010 the New York New York Stake was counseled to prepare for a hurricane. It had been more than 70 years since a hurricane had impacted the area but the stake president, David L. Buckner, followed counsel and members of the area went into action.

In June, a Sunday meeting focused on hurricane preparedness and in August, when the tropical storm hit, the members in the Manhattan area were ready.

"We were ready and incredibly prepared for others who needed our help and assistance," said President Buckner.

Missionaries in North Carolina help repair a roof after Hurricane Irene struck the east coast on August 27.
Missionaries in North Carolina help repair a roof after Hurricane Irene struck the east coast on August 27. Photo: Photo by Emily Nelson
Flooding in North Carolina caused by Hurricane Irene that made landfall August 27.
Flooding in North Carolina caused by Hurricane Irene that made landfall August 27. Photo: Photo by Emily Nelson

The Red Cross contacted local Church leaders to help at shelters. Many members in the stake responded to the call. President Buckner reported that many members turned up to help.

Providence Rhode Island Stake President Richard S. Hutchins said that his stake was also prepared. In June, bishops were contacted and given 24 hours to report back how many members in their wards had 72-hour kits in place. The goal was to find out where the stake lacked in communication and the number of 72-hour kits in place. After the test run, Relief Societies held meetings and clinics to help in the preparedness efforts. President Hutchins said they were planning to do another test run when the storm hit.

The aftermath in North Carolina after Hurricane Irene hit the east coast August 27.
The aftermath in North Carolina after Hurricane Irene hit the east coast August 27. Photo: Photo by Joella Morris
A delivery truck of supplies from the Atlanta location of Deseret Industries arrives in North Carolina after Hurricane Irene hit the area August 27.
A delivery truck of supplies from the Atlanta location of Deseret Industries arrives in North Carolina after Hurricane Irene hit the area August 27. Photo: Photo by Emily Nelson

"This storm ended up being our second test," he said and noted that many were grateful for the advanced preparation because it moved them into action. Land lines, for the most part, were intact and people retained cell phone coverage but he said that if the hurricane had directly hit the area the people in the path would have had to rely on ham radios as points of communication. They did not have to worry about a loss of communication.

Employees of Pike Electric Corp. in North Carolina go to work after Hurricane Irene hit August 27.
Employees of Pike Electric Corp. in North Carolina go to work after Hurricane Irene hit August 27. Photo: Photo by Susan Hancock
Members of the Harkers Island Ward, Kinston North Carolina Stake deliver supplies provided by the Atlanta location of Deseret Industries on August 30 after Hurricane Irene hit the area on August 27.
Members of the Harkers Island Ward, Kinston North Carolina Stake deliver supplies provided by the Atlanta location of Deseret Industries on August 30 after Hurricane Irene hit the area on August 27. Photo: Photo by Susan Hancock

"If we listen, the Lord will prepare us," President Hutchins counseled.

According to a Church welfare report, tens of millions of people were impacted by Hurricane Irene as it traveled through the Caribbean and along 1,100 miles of U.S. coastline. All missionaries in the affected areas are safe and accounted for and no deaths or injuries have been reported among members.

Missionaries and members in North Carolina help to distribute supplies after Hurricane Irene hit along the eastern coast on August 27.
Missionaries and members in North Carolina help to distribute supplies after Hurricane Irene hit along the eastern coast on August 27. Photo: Photo by Rachael Nelson Frivance

In the Dominican Republic, members have had their homes damaged or destroyed and have been evacuated to meetinghouses. Members in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Dominican Republic are assisting with clean-up efforts and the Church is providing relief supplies to affected areas.

At least 26 deaths in the United States have been attributed to the storm with power outages from North Carolina to Vermont. The largest storm to hit the U.S. in three years,

Hurricane Irene struck land Saturday, Aug. 27, near Cape Lookout, N.C. Several states had storm surges as high as eight feet. As many as 6 million people in 12 states were without power over the weekend as wind, water and trees caused damage to many communities. Power in some locations is expected to be out for at least one to two weeks. The estimated clean-up costs are expected to exceed $7 billion in the United States alone.

Wearing Mormon Helping Hands shirts, members from the Harkers Island Ward, Kinston North Carolina Stake, help unload relief supplies for victims of the storms brought by Hurricane Irene along the eastern seaboard of the United States.
Wearing Mormon Helping Hands shirts, members from the Harkers Island Ward, Kinston North Carolina Stake, help unload relief supplies for victims of the storms brought by Hurricane Irene along the eastern seaboard of the United States. Photo: Photo by Susan Hancock
The home of Sister Luk Haddock of the Washington Branch, Kinston North Carolina Stake suffered extensive damage with over two feet of water in the yard and downed trees that left Sister Haddock trapped after Hurricane Irene hit the area on Aug 27.
The home of Sister Luk Haddock of the Washington Branch, Kinston North Carolina Stake suffered extensive damage with over two feet of water in the yard and downed trees that left Sister Haddock trapped after Hurricane Irene hit the area on Aug 27. Photo: Photo courtesy of William Clayton

In North Carolina, the hardest-hit area in the states, Kinston North Carolina Stake President David C. Walker had damage to his house. He told of his family going to the attic with buckets trying to keep the water out of the house but also praying.

"There was just a sense that together our family could weather any storm," he said. "I think it brought home that spiritual preparedness goes together with temporal preparedness. If you are lacking in one of those areas you don't feel complete."

A huge tree in a North Carolina neighborhood, ripped out from its roots by Hurricane Irene, fell into this two-story home causing damage to the entire house.
A huge tree in a North Carolina neighborhood, ripped out from its roots by Hurricane Irene, fell into this two-story home causing damage to the entire house. Photo: Photo courtesy of David C. Walker
A tree is uprooted in North Carolina after Hurricane Irene struck the east coast on August 27.
A tree is uprooted in North Carolina after Hurricane Irene struck the east coast on August 27. Photo: Photo courtesy of David C. Walker
A tree snaps in half and lands on a house in North Carolina after Hurricane Irene made landfall August 27.
A tree snaps in half and lands on a house in North Carolina after Hurricane Irene made landfall August 27. Photo: Photo courtesy of David C. Walker

The eye of the hurricane passed through the Kinston stake but President Walker said the members were prepared. He said trucks will bring supplies from the bishop's storehouse at Tucker, Ga., near Atlanta, and it will be a good missionary tool "to show that Latter-day Saints are Christians, that we are partners and we are here to help."

Stake President Matthew S. Harding of the Raleigh North Carolina Stake said that he sent an email to the bishops in the stake and asked them to join their faith in prayer that the storm would move east. By the time the hurricane hit landfall it had tempered to a Category 1 hurricane.

"I can tell you that prayers were answered," said President Harding.

[email protected]

Missionaries and a member in the Kinston North Carolina Stake prepare to deliver 200 cleaning, flood and personal hygiene kits along with bottled water and wheel barrows to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.
Missionaries and a member in the Kinston North Carolina Stake prepare to deliver 200 cleaning, flood and personal hygiene kits along with bottled water and wheel barrows to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.
A downed tree in North Carolina lands on a car after Hurricane Irene struck land on August 27.
A downed tree in North Carolina lands on a car after Hurricane Irene struck land on August 27. Photo: Photo courtesy of Sam Rollings
The First Citizens Bank in downtown Morehead City, NC, suffered damage from Hurricane Irene that hit August 27.
The First Citizens Bank in downtown Morehead City, NC, suffered damage from Hurricane Irene that hit August 27. Photo: Photo courtesy of Sam Rollings
A tree is uprooted in North Carolina after Hurricane Irene struck August 27.
A tree is uprooted in North Carolina after Hurricane Irene struck August 27. Photo: Photo courtesy of Sam Rollings
The Oceana Pier 12 hours before Hurricane Irene hit the coast of Morehead City on August 27.
The Oceana Pier 12 hours before Hurricane Irene hit the coast of Morehead City on August 27. Photo: Photo courtesy of Sam Rollings
A van arrives in North Carolina from the Atlanta location of Deseret Industries to provide humanitarian aid after Hurricane Irene struck land August 27. The 200 cleaning, flood and personal hygiene kits along with bottled water and wheel barrows were delivered to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.
A van arrives in North Carolina from the Atlanta location of Deseret Industries to provide humanitarian aid after Hurricane Irene struck land August 27. The 200 cleaning, flood and personal hygiene kits along with bottled water and wheel barrows were delivered to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Photo: Photo courtesy of David C. Walker

Sorry, no more articles available