ZF Offers Respite for Poor, Flood-Stricken Areas of Southeastern US
Just over a week after Hurricane Matthew struck the Southeast Coast with gale-force winds and torrential rains, thousands are dealing with its fallout as record-breaking floods spread over eastern North Carolina, the most severely affected state. Flood waters have slowly begun to recede, but officials estimate that water levels will not return to normal until approximately October 24th. The damage toll continues to rise and is currently estimated at around $1.5 billion, affecting 100,000 homes, businesses, and public buildings. Twenty-six people have lost their lives, and the lack of clean water has created a dire public health emergency for thousands of North Carolinians who could not evacuate their towns.
Those who have been hit the hardest by this creeping disaster are mainly low-income communities in the state’s southeast region, a low-lying area between several major rivers. Zakat Foundation of America (ZF) is concentrating its relief operations in one such community, Lumberton, which has been all but submerged in the rising waters. In collaboration with the Islamic Center of Lumberton, ZF is marshaling volunteers and coordinating food, water, and hygiene supplies for vulnerable flood-survivors in the community.
Fresh food has been catered or prepared for over 1,000 people, and hundreds have received clean clothing and hygiene kits, which are desperately needed for residents who were forced to flee their homes and leave their possessions behind. Thousands have also received safe drinking water – an especially urgent need to be fulfilled as the community has been informed by authorities that public water services will not be restored until the end of the month.
“Our tradition teaches us that when one part of a community gets hurt, the other parts of the community should feel the pain,” said ZF East Coast Director, Murat Kose. “So we feel the pain and all of the Muslim community in Lumberton feels the pain,” he added. “That is why we are doing this and we are committed to doing more.”
ZF and its partners in the local Muslim community are digging in to serve the imperiled citizens of North Carolina in their hour of need, and will steadfastly remain as long as such need persists. For serving everyone, regardless of background or belief, is the essence of ZF’s vision of humanitarian stewardship, both in the United States and abroad.