Navarro County Needs Your Prayers and Support in Flood Recovery Efforts

by Laraine Waughtal* and Vance Morton**
While much of the Central Texas has received much-needed and most welcome rain over the past few weeks, parts of the conference are suffering under the weight of too much of a good thing. Chief among those who’ve received more water than they can handle are the communities of Navarro County (Corsicana, Blooming Grove, Frost, etc.). Navarro County residents received nearly 30-inches of rain in the span of seven days and are now dealing with the devastating effects of flood waters – often in areas that have no recorded history of flooding. Because high water has found its way to areas that according to long-time residents “just never flood,” much of the devastation is impacting families with little or no flood insurance. Also, many of those affected are elderly, disabled and/or on fixed incomes.
As of Sunday, the Red Cross had received 125 phone calls from people affected, but this is believed to only be a drop in the bucket (pardon the pun).  One gentleman who came in to talk with us has at the relief area the CTC established with the Red Cross said that he’d not been home in more than a week because five-foot deep waters still separate him from his home. And this is just one of the stories shared with the CTC disaster relief team.
Other people who have come seeking help have told of water anywhere from 2-inches to five feet in their homes. One person said the flooding happened so fast that he had looked out the door and saw the heavy downpour, but no evidence of a pending flood. Thirty minutes later he could hear the water lapping up against his floor boards of his pier and beam home. He had to be rescued out of his house. 
Reports of significant damage and loss continue to roll in – and that’s just to the areas early responders have been able to access. Many people are either still stuck in their homes or unable to get back to their property to check on the damage because the water is still too high to safely traverse. The list of inaccessible roads is still several pages long. Thirty percent of the roads in Navarro County are either still underwater or are impassible due to extensive damage from the flooding.
To put it as simply as possible, the people of Navarro County need our help.
Bishop Lowry has authorized a conference-wide appeal for financial assistance to help the families of Navarro County repair and rebuild. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has already issued a $10,000 grant, and the CTC will apply for additional monetary support from UMCOR as the recovery and rebuilding process plays out. However, It is our hope and prayer that individuals, churches, Sunday School classes, UMW, UMM and youth groups of the CTC will respond as they usually do to help raise funds to help the families affected by the flooding.
At this time, donations of food, water, clothing and other such items are not needed and would actually be a hindrance to the recovery efforts, as there is no place to store such donations. Please send any and all monetary contributions to the Central Texas Conference, 3200 East Rosedale St., Fort Worth, Texas 76105, with a denotation to Disaster Response Floods.  As always, 100 percent of monies received go to the recovery and rebuilding efforts. 
Central Texas Conference Early Response teams (CTC ERT) are organizing now and plan to arrive in Navarro County Thursday (Nov. 5) to begin the work of “muck-outs,” removing sheet rock and wet insulation,  tarping roofs and begin the drying out process for their homes.  There will be many weeks of work as we wait for water to recede across the land. 
Please continue to watch the conference website, CTC Quick Notes and your district communications for further information and more narratives as the work to rebuild and restore Navarro County continues over the next weeks and months.
*Laraine is the coordinator of disaster response for the Central Texas Conference.
**Vance is the director of communications and IT for the Central Texas Conference.