Organization also responding to wildfires that hit the province this summer
WINNIPEG, Man. — Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) is monitoring the situation in B.C., where torrential rains have caused flooding and mudslides that has affected many communities and residents.
With the water still yet to recede, and some communities still cut off from access due to damaged or destroyed roads and bridges, “it’s too early to be doing any kind of assessment on what we can do,” said Ross Penner, who directs Canadian operations.
MDS Canada is already in contact with Samaritan’s Purse, which specializes in the early response phase to disasters such as mucking out and cleaning up, about collaborating on early responses.
“We have talked about partnering with them to send volunteers their way,” said Penner, adding it is likely there will be more work than Samaritan’s Purse can address.
Rebuilding and restoring homes—MDS’s specialty—would not begin until next year, after proper assessments can be conducted, insurance claims satisfied and vulnerable people who need help are identified by local recovery response committees.
Meantime, the MDS unit in B.C. has already been focusing on responding to the wildfires that hit the province hard this summer.
A crew was actually planning to go out on November 16 to help a homeowner who is rebuilding after the wildfires, but washouts or mudslides on major highways prevented them from making the trip, said Gerald Dyck, who chairs the MDS B.C. Unit.
“That was to be our first response for the fires of the summer,” he said.
In Dyck’s experience, MDS usually doesn’t get started with rebuilding until about six months after a disaster.
“For the fires we are at the five-month area,” he said. “We will know more by mid-December for the floods. That will be next for us.”
Donations are welcome for B.C. fire and flood response at https://mds.mennonite.net/donate/
For more information, contact Ross Penner at 204-261-1274 or 1-866-261-1274.