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Homes built by MDS withstand Hurricane Laura

October 14, 2020

As Hurricane Laura ripped through Cameron, Louisiana in late August, homes built by Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) volunteers stood up well to the storm’s punishing 150-mph/241-km/h winds.

MDS has a long history of helping residents in that area.

“When I think about Cameron Parish, the names of hurricanes Audrey, Rita, Ike and, now, Laura are part of life and history. There may be new names to add in the future,” said Carl Dube, who assessed damage in the area shortly after Hurricane Laura.

Hurricane Delta hit the same area in mid-October, six weeks after Laura.

Of the 27 homes MDS built from 2007-2012 in the Cameron area, only three were destroyed.

“I was able to identify almost every one of the new houses we’d built,” said Dube. “I thought about those houses, and what each meant to the clients and to MDS. This storm provided a real-life test that no other group of MDS houses had ever faced.”

Homeowners Brian and Cherie Hardie said they were gratified to find their MDS-built home intact.

“There’s no reason our house should still be standing,” said Brian. “Yes, we have to gut everything on the inside due to the storm surge, but the structure is great. Our insurance adjuster was blown away by the construction. We will be moving back.”

Jeb Morgan, an oyster fisherman, said the roof and walls of his home withstood the storm as well. “I am so happy that you all built my house,” said Morgan. “I will live in my boat until power is restored or until I get a generator, which might be after Thanksgiving.”

Already, people in Cameron are asking when MDS volunteers can come to help. The homes, they have noticed, are built to withstand hurricanes—even ones with record-breaking wind speeds.

Now, MDS is recruiting volunteers to serve in weeklong stints in this area from late October through mid-December. They will be cleaning up debris, cutting trees, mucking out, and preventing mold. A wintertime project may be opened for volunteers as well.