MOREHEAD CITY — As Hurricane Dorian nears the coast, county churches and disaster response groups are already mobilizing to help residents.
The Rev. Powell Osteen of First United Methodist Church in Morehead City said Thursday he met earlier in the week with pastors and representatives of several churches who were instrumental with recovery and relief efforts following Hurricane Florence in September 2018.
“We met earlier in the week and were coordinating who would be doing what and have been in contact with county emergency management services. I believe they are compiling a list like we did following Florence,” Rev. Osteen said.
“I know we have been ordering supplies like tarps, water, flood buckets, vinegar and peroxide that is good for mold,” he continued. “As soon as it’s safe, we will open our church up like we did last year to provide relief in whatever way is needed. Last year we had people showing up to use our restrooms, take showers and get food and supplies. We’ll be setting up grills and cooking whatever we can.”
Rev. Osteen said the churches he has been in contact with include One Harbor Church, First Presbyterian Church in Morehead City, Glad Tidings Church in Morehead City and Ann Street United Methodist in Beaufort.
In addition, a men’s group, F3, that he’s involved with will be doing a massive relief and response effort if needed like last year following Florence at Starling Marina in Morehead City.
Carteret County Public Information Officer Jaime Long said the emergency operations center is in the process of compiling a list of churches that will be assisting with relief efforts following Dorian and would release it soon.
Greg Ehrler, the site manager for the United Methodist Disaster Response Center in Newport, said that center is shut down at least until Monday, and he is coordinating with Ann Street UMC in preparation for going out to assist residents as soon as Dorian passes.
“We’re going to set up a temporary site at Ann Street on Monday like we did last year following Florence,” Mr. Ehrler said. “We are moving out of recovery mode back into emergency response team mode. We’ve already had teams out helping people who needed help getting tarps on roofs.”
Mr. Ehrler added that the disaster recovery center already had a group scheduled to come in from Virginia Sunday, Sept. 15 to assist with recovery efforts.
“We may be moving them into emergency response projects,” he said.
Pastor Donnie Griggs with One Harbor Church in Morehead City said One Harbor churches in Morehead City, Beaufort and Swansboro have teams preparing to respond, as well.
“The scope of what we are doing as One Harbor is helping with tree removal and putting tarps on homes for the first phase after the storm,” Pastor Griggs said. “Then we will shift gears into gutting houses and helping rebuild if necessary.”
He added that each church would operate its own crews, working closely with the town where they are located.
The Rev. John Carswell of Parkview Baptist Church in Morehead City said N.C. Baptist on Mission emergency response crews were on standby in Cary waiting to come in and help with recovery efforts. They will be based out of Parkview Baptist.
The Rev. Robbie Phillips, director of Carteret Long Term Recovery Alliance, said her members have been prepping, as well.
“We've been contacting folks we know have not gotten their roofs repaired yet seeing if they need help securing or adding a tarp,” Rev. Phillips said. “We have a few volunteers helping with that until the weather gets bad. We've been meeting with our partners, communicating with EM (emergency management) at the state level and local level.”
Rev. Phillips said she has also been attending National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster readiness calls, where 30-40 other organizations call in, check in, talk about their plans, share needs and more.
“We're not an early response organization, but we'll all be on the ground supporting the community, supporting our partners, checking in with volunteers, finding places for volunteers to stay, checking in with the swarm of contractors that come in, and supporting the work of other ERTs any where we can,” she continued.
Rev. Phillips said they will also be working with state and federal agencies depending on the declarations.
“Things are in place and we're all communicating well,” she said. “We'll be manning the office and phone and keeping (Facebook) and Instagram updated.”
The Carteret Warriors for Recovery posted on its Facebook page that they stood ready to assist other churches and groups in their response and recovery efforts.
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.