Most Vulnerable, Least Visible

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Hundreds of homes in Oklahoma still need to be mucked out after flooding. Photo: Richard Norman

By Linda Unger*
October 5, 2015—The board of directors of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) approved $1.4 million to assist communities in Oklahoma, Texas, and Maryland whose moments in the headlines because of disaster have long faded, but whose recovery is far from over.

“Sometimes it’s the invisible disasters that really require the greatest funding,” said Greg Forrester, head of UMCOR U.S. Disaster Response. “They come into the news and go out of the news quickly. But for the families affected, the impact lasts a lot longer than the news cycle.”

Families in Oklahoma and Texas are still feeling the impact of tornadoes, torrential rain, straight-line winds, and massive flooding that tore across both states last spring. Rain fell steadily for weeks, causing rivers to overflow their banks and flood the homes of thousands, notably those who could least afford it.
Across Texas, more than 40,000 households applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance. The Texas Annual Conference disaster response team has identified 300 households with unmet needs within its geographical area, which includes Houston.