Ministries City Care
Flood Relief

Flood Relief {2021}

The flooding that has occurred in our region lately has been devastating and heart-breaking. It has been incredible to see the way the community in Abbotsford has come together to help in so many ways.

Along with other local churches, we met with the representatives from Samaritan’s Purse International Relief to discuss how to coordinate efforts in helping with the immediate and long-term needs our community faces. We received a brief explanation of what Samaritan’s Purse does in a disaster, and how they work with the community, recognizing they have expertise in the area, but that we are the most familiar with the landscape, figuratively and literally.

Samaritan’s Purse is working closely with the EOC (Emergency Operations Centre), Mayor Henry Braun, and other local organizations focused on the relief efforts. As a church, we are grateful for their leadership and experience, and their efforts to partner with local churches. Here are some ways to help:

  • Samaritan’s Purse has set up their ‘command center’. They are deploying teams of volunteers into the Sumas Prairie to begin their clean up efforts. Click HERE for that information and to sign up.
    • Volunteers can sign up to help Monday to Saturday, 8am-5pm (7:30am is registration time on site at Northview; 8am is orientation.
    • Lunches are provided for volunteers; water and Gatorade will be on the trucks at each location.
    • All volunteers will be provided with PPE, including N95 masks. Please wear boots for cleanup, and wear your own mask when inside Northview getting checked in.
    • Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age, and youth aged 16 & 17 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.
    • A criminal background check is not required for this volunteer work.
    • Groups are welcome to participate together. Jen Cucheran will be coordinating groups with the Volunteer Coordinator at Samaritan’s Purse. Email Jen at floodrelief2021@gmail.com to sign up your group or join a group.
    • Volunteers do not need to be able to lift heavy objects, but do need to be mobile. There’s always a wide range of tasks available for varying levels of physical strength.
  • It was noted by all three Samaritan’s Purse representatives that Abbotsford has responded in incredible ways; it’s blown them away. Their encouragement to churches: take a breath and slow down. There’s a lot of immediate pressure to do a ton of work, and they encouraged us to let the initial clean up steps get underway and then get involved in the re-building process, which will be a long-term project, not just the sprint we’re in right now.
  • Samaritan’s Purse also has a long-term recovery branch; they provide a wellbeing assessment (emotional, physical, economical, spiritual), inventory assets and connect people with the appropriate resources. Recovery can take 3-10 years.

other information:

  • There are more than 600-800 houses in Abbotsford that have been affected
  • Samaritan’s Purse helps with clean up for those who do not have insurance or are under-insured; those that have insurance have to go through their insurance companies (noting that insurance on a flood plain is relatively impossible to acquire)
  • They do an assessment before bringing the volunteer teams onsite
  • Samaritan’s Purse provides a team lead at each location
  • Everything that has been saturated needs to be removed
  • A hospital-grade disinfectant (Shock-Wave) is used as part of the cleanup
  • Those affected can access DFA (Disaster Funding Assistance) that is intended to get victims warm and dry but doesn’t provide the replacement of items that insurance would.
  • Farm clean up (animals in particular) are done by professionals, not volunteers. The priority for Samaritan’s Purse is always the people and their living space.

financial donations:

City of Abbotsford building inspection professionals, alongside Canada Task Force 1 Search and Rescue personnel, have launched a Rapid Damage Assessment (RDA) process for flood-affected properties in areas where the floodwaters have receded.
Please note that structures in the rescinded area are not all safe to enter or occupy. The rapid damage assessments that have been completed on structures in the area are not comprehensive inspections and only apparent structural or safety hazards are noted. Individuals should conduct a comprehensive inspection before entering structures in order to reveal hazards not noted in the rapid damage assessment. Further details at abbotsford.ca