Volunteers Help Uninsured N.H. Homeowners with Flood Recovery

July 13, 2006

Wanted: about 200 volunteers to help clean basements of mold and mildew left over from the May flood in New Hampshire.

More than 300 families statewide are living with toxic waste, mold and mildew as a result of the flooding, said Tim Dupre, executive director of Volunteer NH! The group was contacted to help people clean out, but more volunteers are needed he said of the organization’s “Mud Out” program, which helps homeowners who don’t have flood insurance.

“I would tell you if we have cleaned out 20 homes, that’s a good number,” Dupre said. So far, only about 10 new people have been trained and agreed to help clean up other homes.

Dupre said mold and mildew grow over time and spread through the wall’s insulation, easily traveling from the basement to the first floor and beyond. The longer people live with mold and mildew, the greater the chance it can affect people’s health, he said.

The areas in greatest need across the state range from Gilford to Rochester to Goffstown and part of Nashua.

Dupre said it takes three to six days to clean hazardous materials from a basement, and the job involves wading in toxic materials and, sometimes, sewage.

Volunteer NH! partners with the Southern Baptists and the Lutheran Church for volunteers. The Baptists recently left New Hampshire, both because the need is greater in the south and because workers are experiencing burnout after Hurricane Katrina.

“Obviously, the Gulf was hit much harder than New Hampshire, but it’s still our disaster,” Dupre said.

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