A post-Hurricane Florence Interview with the Rev. Jason Collins, Rector of St. Paul’s, Conway, September 28, 2018.
By Joy Hunter, Director of Communications, Diocese of South Carolina
Can you describe the situation now?
It’s still a big mess. I just went through my neighborhood, which is on the north side of Crabtree canal, a tributary of the Waccamaw. The water has started to recede. It crested on Wednesday and has now moved about 25 feet down the street. Looking at the water line, it’s dropped about 8 inches since Wednesday. It’s leaving behind a huge mess – dead fish in people’s yards, mud, debris. The whole neighborhood stinks. It’s awful, but some people’s spirits are high; some are still in shock. They don’t live in a flood zone so they didn’t have flood insurance.
Was your house affected?
No. It flooded my neighbor’s back yard, but stopped about 75-100 feet away from our back yard. Our neighborhood is surrounded, though (by people affected) so many roads are closed. Traffic is very bad. Everyone has to be very patient.
Did your parish experience any damage?
We experienced some minor damage from the flash flooding. Our pre-school classrooms and youth room flooded.
Do you know many people whose homes were damaged?
Absolutely. We have at least four parishioners whose homes were flooded and so many friends and neighbors of parishioners. Also, in some neighborhoods the homes didn’t flood, but the water got under houses, flooding the duct work, insulation. There’s a lot to clean up.
The emergency management center here estimated about 1000 houses in Conway and 10,000 in Horry County were affected. If you estimate about three people per house that’s 30,000 struggling in our area, then you’ve got Marion County, flash flooding in Bennettsville, Darlington, Florence, and that’s not including all those in North Carolina. And now it’s moving into Georgetown.
What kind of help do you think is needed?
Have you heard the term “mud out?” You pull out the sheet rock, insulation, flooring. It takes no skilled labor and when people are here they’ll have team leaders giving instruction. We’re really hoping working with Stephen (Haynsworth of ADRP) we’ll get some help with mudding out houses.
When do they expect the water to completely recede?
They estimate it’ll be Tuesday before it reaches where it was following hurricane Matthew. It could be two weeks. At least now the weather’s beautiful.
When the sun starts going down they’re horrible. I lived in this neighborhood during hurricane Floyd. It’s just like in the Bible. First there’s the plague of the water, then the mosquitoes, then the frogs. About a month after Hurricane Floyd we must have had 10,000 toads in the yard.
Are you ready for teams to come now?
It’s still too early. Roads aren’t open and the water’s still too high. We may be able to use help next weekend, but for now we need to wait. When we were watching the water come up one of my friends said, “This is like being stalked by a turtle.” The other said, “It’s like being stalked by a turtle with a bomb strapped to his back.” The water came slowly and it’s receding slowly too. It will, though, and when it does we’ll need help for weeks to come. Once people can get in its game on. There’s a lot to be done.
If you’re interested in sending a team to help mud-out, contact Stephen Haynsworth of ADPR at email@example.com. Visit Anglican Disaster Preparedness and Relief at http://www.adpr.faith/ Contribute financially and learn more at Anglican Relief and Development. ARDF.org https://ardf.org/