Young RRT assist with St Jude storm clear-up
Young helpers from the Hertfordshire and Barnet congregations of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church banded together to form a joint Rapid Relief Team (RRT) effort, after the impact of the debilitating storm, St Jude, on Monday 28th October 2013. The aftermath of the turbulent winds and rain left a messy carpet of strewn debris, including sizeable uprooted trees, making road and pavement access difficult and dangerous in many areas.
The storm St Jude made landfall on the UK’s south east coast late on that Monday evening, with heavy rain and battering winds in excess of 80mph. A trail of destruction was left in its wake, with extensive damage unfolding as the storm travelled, cutting power lines as it passed. Widespread disruptions were also seen on public transport, with cancellations for air, rail and train services throughout the south of the country. Four people were reported to have been killed during the storm.
The team were organised to assist the local council, easing the backlog of essential clear-up work. The storm had blocked access for essential services and had left many people vulnerable and isolated. A large number of trees had uprooted and fallen during the storm, which had caused blocked roads and damage to vehicles. The RRT young men assisted officials to chop and remove dispersed trees on the roads, enabling emergency services to allow access again.
The storm also brought down many power and telephone lines, adding to the council’s increased workload. The RRT operated alongside British Telecom workers, clearing away trees and debris littering access roads, so that BT were able to reconnect damaged telephone lines. The relief work was mainly concentrated within the Hertfordshire area, on roads and lanes throughout the countryside. The young team of Brethren men were also dispatched to attend a clearing mission at Welwyn Garden City, where several large trees had fallen and caused closed roads and obstructed pathways.
It was enjoyable and rewarding for all the young Brethren men to experience being involved in this type of community-based work, and they are looking forward to helping out in the future wherever the need takes them. That is the primary aim of the vision behind the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church’s Rapid Relief Team: to provide support to communities in times of need.