The remnants of Hurricane Ida swept into southeast Pennsylvania and northeast Maryland on the 1st and 2nd of September, bringing record-breaking rainfall that ran downhill into waterways through Wilmington, Delaware. This rain water caused the Brandywine Creek to rise by 24 feet above normal, flooding a 10-square block area of northeast Wilmington known as the 11th Street Bridge neighborhood. Many of the homes in this community experienced over five feet of water. The flooding caused catastrophic damage to much of this underserved community.
Members of the Delaware VOAD sprang into action, working closely with the City of Wilmington and their Emergency Manager, Willie Patrick. Red Cross members went through the affected community, assessing damage, giving out cleaning kits and packaged food boxes, and distributing financial assistance for emergency needs. A couple of days into the disaster, The Salvation Army took over feeding operations, bringing in a mobile kitchen and canteen to provide meals, to include one hot meal per day, for over 350 people. Delaware VOAD staff helped to facilitate the transition, guiding the mobile kitchen to the affected neighborhoods.
To ensure a quick response to this historic flooding, Delaware VOAD had their first Volunteer Work Day to commence the massive effort of clearing ruined items out of homes and to the curb for collection. Delaware VOAD coordinated 4 additional Work Days on Saturdays through the rest of September and into October. Volunteers from member organizations like United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Baptist Conventions of MD/DE (BCMD), United Way of DE (UWDE), Lions Clubs and others conducted work in debris removal, muckout of ruined drywall, and mold remediation over the 2-month period. Team Rubicon gave the effort a huge boost by launching a 10-day operation, conducting muckouts and clearing 34 properties. We made many new partners on these Work Days!
This major Response effort has resulted in over 1,000 volunteer-days, and many residences are now ready for rebuild. Unfortunately, almost 2 months after the flooding there are still properties in the community that need muckout and remediation, so the mold continues to grow and spread. It is a race against time, with the holidays and cold weather approaching.
In the meantime, the work of the Delaware VOAD and our members and partners in responding to this historic disaster continues! Thanks to the VOAD movement, and the 4 Cs we have every expectation of meeting the needs of all survivors.