Catholic Charities helps with relief after Calif. quake

The city of Napa, Calif. recovers from a 6.0 magnitude earthquake in August 2014. Credit: Cal OES via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

The Church in northern California is helping respond to a major earthquake, which shook Napa Valley early Sunday morning, the largest earthquake to hit the area in 25 years.

Jennielynn Holmes, director of shelter and housing for Catholic Charities in the area, said they are partnering with local emergency response programs to provide assistance.

“There's a lot of cleanup going on right now,” she told CNA Aug. 25. “The water situation is really bad, they're not sure if they'll have it turned on for another week in some locations...but (everyone is) working hard, they've already fixed up a lot of places where the pavement became uneven.”

The 6.0 magnitude earthquake was the biggest to hit the region since the 6.9 Loma Prieta quake in 1989, which killed 63 people, injured thousands and caused several billion dollars in damage according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

While there are no known fatalities from the Aug. 24 earthquake, more than 100 people were injured and many homes and businesses damaged or destroyed.

Nearly everyone who had been brought to the hospital for earthquake related injuries was released by Sunday night, CNN reports. One patient remained in critical condition and a child injured when a fireplace collapsed was life-flighted to UC Davis Medical Center.

Holmes said while the Catholic Charities shelter had its own cleanup to do, other buildings sustained much more damage, and the downtown area seemed to be hit especially hard.

“There's actually a house next to one of our shelters that...the foundation just sunk into the ground,” she said. “Luckily we just did work on our program foundation a couple years ago, so we were fortunate.”

Catholic Charities of California has also been working to round up food, furniture and clothing for those who lost their homes or belongings in the quake. Besides household items and houses themselves, the biggest need in the aftermath might be cars, Holmes said.

“There's been a couple of car ports that have collapsed and fell on cars and they've been destroyed, so I would say probably financial assistance in that way (will be the biggest need),” she said. “Hopefully by the end of today we'll have more information.”

She added that Bishop Robert Vasa has been in the area, helping out with local parishes.

“He's checking in to see how everybody's doing.”

As recovery efforts solidify, there will be a need for volunteers who can give of their time to cleanup efforts or who can donate household items, Holmes said.

The next few days and even weeks of recovery will be precarious, especially because of possible aftershocks expected from the quake, she explained. But so far the response in the community has been positive.

“I know a lot of people have kind of rallied together to help out.”

Donations to Catholic Charities of California can be made on their website: http://catholiccharitiesca.org/wp/join-us/


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