Big disasters hit the news in a big way. The pictures can be dramatic, the stories harrowing and heartbreaking.
That's what happened in California, where parts of that state received a whole year worth of rain in 16 days. The snowpack in some of the Sierra Nevadas is up to 288% of normal.
Stories like these are dramatic and ominous and stick with us—until another disaster story hits the news and our attention is drawn elsewhere. That's how news cycles work when reporting about disasters. But it’s not quite how MDS works.
While we sometimes engage in some of the early response work—mucking out flooded homes or clearing trees and repairing roofs after a windstorm—we are one of the only groups that does longer term repair and rebuilding after disasters. This means we intentionally work not to forget those whose lives were upended by things like floods, tornados, hurricanes, fires or storms.
One disaster in Canada that has disappeared from the news is the fire that burned the town of Lytton, B.C. in 2021. Many people have forgotten about it, but we haven’t. We know there were many uninsured homeowners there who lost their houses.
It’s taken a long time for the town to be ready to rebuild, and now our B.C. Unit is looking to start work there by building one new house. With new building codes, a new town council, and new regulations, we want to do start with one house to see how smoothly the process goes. After that, we will consider whether a larger response is called for.
We have also not forgotten Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It was hit by Hurricane Fiona back in September, last year. We worked in the greater Sydney area in the fall, clearing trees and repairing roofs. Some of the houses were so water damaged they need a complete rebuild inside. We are making plans to return there this spring—because we don’t want to forget, even when the news cycle has moved on.
As we plan for the upcoming season, I want to welcome Rose Klassen to our staff team. Rose is taking over the Volunteer Manager role as Kelsey has just begun her maternity leave. We look forward to being in touch with you to ensure we don’t forget those who are yet looking for hope to be restored.