Upstate organization fears it could take years for Houston to re - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate organization fears it could take years for Houston to rebuild

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An Upstate organization who helped victims get back on their feet after Hurricane Katrina fears damage in Texas could take years to rebuild An Upstate organization who helped victims get back on their feet after Hurricane Katrina fears damage in Texas could take years to rebuild
(FOX Carolina) -

Red Cross Volunteer Bill Haynes has only been in Texas a few days, but he says the destruction is unimaginable.

"Most of them have lost all and they don’t even know it yet," said Haynes.

As thousands struggle to reach safety, they're leaving their homes behind. Precious mementos are now being swept away by rising flood waters.

"They are looking for somebody to hug them and tell them that everything is going to be alright," the volunteer said.  

Haynes said his work is a calling. He's a steady shoulder for someone to cry on and a hug after a day of tragedy.

Even through the years, he said it never gets any easier. Faces from his past are still ingrained in his mind - faces of those who have lost everything.

"You don't get used to it and you don't get hardened to it because it’s a new place every time,” Haynes said. “It is new faces, new hurt."

For two weeks, Haynes is bringing families to shelter, hoping to give them some temporary relief. But Chris Manley from Rebuild Upstate said for many, the heartbreak is just beginning.

"The long-term effects of it will be felt for years,” Manley said. “In fact, I would be surprised if within a decade things have completely turned back to normal in that area."

The executive director said he's been part of a large rebuilding process before. He's worked in the Bahamas and even New Orleans, helping flood victims get back on their feet after Hurricane Katrina.

"It's not an immediate thing,” Manley said. “I think what we'll see in Houston after the flood waters start to recede is a lot of homes that need similar services. Whether it was two feet of water or ten feet of water."

Countless homes that are filled with mold will need to be gutted and cleaned up before rebuilding can even take place. Manley said it's an emotion most can't begin to describe.

"People take their homes for granted until something like this happens,” said the Rebuild Upstate Director. “That’s when they realize how important a sense of home is for them. It's a base for us, it's a sense of comfort and healing."

Disaster relief is a passion Manley doesn't take lightly. He said nobody asked for this.

"You don't choose to be in that," Manley said.

He added, sometimes all they need is a helping hand.

"They will need our help not three months or six months down the road but years down the road,” Manley said. “They will continue to need help even from people here in the Upstate."

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