Rockport Begins the Long Road to Recovery from Hurricane Harvey
Scientology Volunteer Ministers disaster response team in Rockport, Texas, reports on the devastation and the help still needed.
“Going through Corpus Christi and on to Rockport—it is devastation, honestly,” said Joava Good on Tuesday, August 29 as the team of Scientology Volunteer Ministers (VMs) she is leading arrived in the area. “It’s very bad. Trailers on top of trees. Telephone poles down for miles. Flooded roads. No power—the place is dark.”
Joava, a veteran of numerous disaster responses in her decades as a Volunteer Minister, is leading a team of highly experienced VMs in the city.
She describes arriving and the first 24 hours on the ground. “We heard there could be problems getting gas so we loaded up with 50 gallons and headed out,” she says. “The response from people on the way was great. Whenever we stopped, people saw the yellow T-shirts or the Disaster Relief signs on the van and they knew where we were going and what we were going to do. They just came up and said ‘thank you guys for what you are doing.’”
Although they were watching the story unfold in the news, the Volunteer Ministers still were not prepared for what they encountered.
“The place was dark. There was only power from one generator. To be here you have to be self-sufficient—have your own food, gas, supplies. There’s one road in, one road out,” Joava said.
The team began working with the Rockport Fire Department. Some helped man the firehouse phones to deal with incoming calls and requests. One of the firefighters needed help—his own home was destroyed. So a team of Volunteer Ministers went home with him to help salvage what they could from the wreckage.
Scientology Volunteer Ministers International Headquarters arranged finances to send them and a team of the famous Mexican search and rescue specialists, Los Topos (the Moles), to Rockport along with medical professionals—a doctor and a nurse are enroute from Oregon. Los Topos searched house to house for survivors or casualties.
More VMs are flying in to Texas from across the U.S. The Church of Scientology Austin is serving as Volunteer Ministers Hurricane Harvey headquarters. As they arrive in Austin, volunteers are being supplied with sleeping bags, boots and any other personal gear they need. Local Volunteer Ministers purchased that equipment and supplies for thousands of hygiene kits, an item that is greatly in demand in Rockport and Houston. Volunteer Ministers teams are formed up and dispatched to Rockport and Houston as they arrive in Austin.
One of these teams took off for Houston in a 16-foot truck packed with emergency supplies. Their first night they handed these out at the George R. Brown Convention Center, which has been converted into a massive shelter for people displaced by the hurricane. Those VMs are also working with local law enforcement to provide any services needed to help to police stay on the job.
Hurricane Harvey is expected to affect 13 million people in Texas and Louisiana and drive some 30,000 into shelters. If you can help, contact the International Scientology Volunteer Ministers Headquarters in Los Angeles at