Update from West - April 23

A Visit into Zones 1 and 2 Provides the First Glimpse of the Long-Term Recovery Project Ahead
an update from West by Laraine Waughtal, CTC Disaster Response Coordinator
10:45 p.m., April 23 - Today, I was invited to go with the Red Cross into some of the different “zones” surrounding the blast area. This was my first chance to see the damage firsthand, which allowed me and those with me the opportunity to better comprehend the extent of the damage caused by last Wednesdays massive explosion. Upon entering the zones, my heart ached for the families of the homes I saw that were so badly damaged. We’ve seen photos, but like in so many disaster situations, your mind just can’t wrap around this type of devastation from looking at a picture or video – and we were not even in Zone 3 where officials report that many homes were completely destroyed.
The opening of these zones to us is only another in the many, many steps that it takes to prepare the affected area so that our volunteers (like many of you who have been so wonderfully patient and diligent with your prayers) can eventually get in and get to work. The zones remain off-limits to anyone other than Emergency officials. Assessments will begin of the homes next week, at which time we can begin to invite our trained and badged Early Response Teams to come. We appreciate everyone's patience as we continue to go through this process. Our Early Response teams continue to keep busy working the table at the disaster relief station on the outside of town, interviewing the clients to learn of their needs with their homes. Our workers are setting quite a standard for the other relief organizations as many people are wanting to visit at our table due to the care the United Methodist teams are giving to the community.  
Please continue to monitor for the latest information on volunteer opportunities in West, as well as ERT and UMVIM trainings coming to Central Texas in the next few weeks.