UPDATED: Harvey and Irma – 5 Things You Can Do

In Greater New Jersey, we know something about hurricanes and flooding. We know what it is like to cry out for the Lord in despair. We also know how Jesus has answered these prayers by sending 12,000 volunteers and more than $17 million to A Future With Hope to help us rebuild.

It is our turn to respond to God’s call to help our neighbor.

The United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) is currently working with disaster coordinators and early response teams in Louisiana, Texas, and Florida to provide relief to the many people whose lives have been impacted by hurricane/tropical storm Harvey.

Here are 5 Things You Can Do to help: 

1. Please continue to pray for those whose lives have been impacted by hurricane/tropical storms Harvey and Irma. Please also pray for the Early Response Teams, disaster coordinators, and many volunteers in The Texas Annual ConferenceLouisiana ConferenceRío Texas ConferenceCentral Texas Conference, Alabama-West Florida Conference and Florida Conference who are working tirelessly to provide relief after Harvey and Irma.

2. Make relief kits for UMCOR. These cleaning and hygiene kits (sometimes called flood buckets) provide pre-packed necessities ready for distribution in needed areas. Greater New Jersey has two Mission Central Hubs that coordinate relief supplies with UMCOR: Good Shepherd UMC in Northfield and the Skylands Outreach Depot. You can drop off completed kits and they will forward to UMCOR Hubs for distribution. You may also download the packing list and a shipping label.

3. Give – Partner with UMCOR in responding to the needs of communities and individuals impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma by giving to Advance #901670:

To give online:

100% of your gift will go to relief efforts.

To give by mail:

Advance GCFA
P.O. Box 9068
New York, NY 10087-9068
Please note in the memo line: Advance 901670

4. Donate only those items requested.

5. Please wait for an invitation to volunteer.

Wednesday, September 13: Update on the Caribbean

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, St Martin/St Maarten, the British Virgin Islands, and Turks and Caicos are the islands most affected by hurricane Irma. Critical needs for supplies and support are being addressed around the clock. In the Dominican Republic and Haiti, local authorities are managing response and restoration to normal activities in the affected areas with local resources, as the effects are less than originally anticipated. Cuba withstood damage to 13 of its 15 provinces, reporting 10 deaths and damage to agriculture, water supply, and telecommunications. Humanitarian partners continue to work and coordinate with regional organizations and local governments throughout the affected countries as assessments continue to reveal the range and depth of the needs caused by Irma.

UMCOR International Disaster Response is currently in communication with our partners in the Caribbean and awaiting assessment analysis from them to provide effective relief to those affected by hurricane Irma.

To support UMCOR’s work in responding to the effects of Hurricane Irma outside of the United States, please give to the International Disaster Response Advance, #982450.

Monday, September 11: Update on the Caribbean   

Hurricane Irma has become one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic, a category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 295 km/hour. To date, it has passed over Barbuda, Saint Barthelemy, Anguilla, Saint Marten, British and U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Turks and Caicos, Cuba, the Bahamas and currently passing through Florida with Georgia in line. Extensive damage has been reported in Barbuda and Anguilla where 70-90% of the buildings were destroyed. 27 people reported dead across affected territories, 34,000 people displaced in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Over 1 million people were evacuated along the coastline in central and eastern Cuba. 17,000 people are in need of immediate shelter across the affected eastern Caribbean islands. Assessments will take place over the coming days to determine the number of people in need of food assistance. More than 10,000 people are in temporary shelters in the North. The damage to the Dominican Republic was less than expected, with no fatalities reported. There is damage to water infrastructure that affects 1.2 million people, according to the national water authorities.

Livelihoods in affected communities are anticipated to be an area of need when recovery efforts begin. Widespread flooding has been recorded in northern Cuba including Havana. Concerns have been raised about possible waterborne disease outbreaks as flooding is likely to persist for 36 hours at least. Most of the coastal municipalities in affected countries are without electricity. Given the level of damage so far, Haiti and Cuba are likely to be our first areas of response outside of the U.S. and U.S. territories. This is because of the significant level of damage and our Methodist connections in these countries. We are awaiting responsefrom MCCA about support to Barbuda and Anguilla.

UMCOR will continue to monitor Irma’s impact on the Caribbean and provide updates here. Please consider making a generous donation to UMCOR’s International disaster recovery work.

Wednesday, August 30

In the Rio Texas Annual Conference, Early Response Teams are at work. For teams interested in supporting the relief efforts there, please visit the conference webpage https://riotexas.org/harvey. Remember that relief teams come in with training and an invitation.

About 20 churches in the Texas Annual Conference are serving as shelters. It is too soon for Early Response Teams, though cleaning and hygiene kits are being distributed. More kits will be needed. Please go to http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Relief-Supplies for more information about preparing kits.

In the Central Texas Conference, one ER Team will deploy this weekend; two more next week. As kits are distributed, more are needed. For those in the conference, please contact Sheryl Crumrine for more information sheryl@ctcumc.org. 

The people of the Louisiana Conference, already responding to massive flooding in 2016, are gearing up for Harvey’s anticipated arrival. They are building kits, putting ER Teams on alert, and enacting disaster plans and shelter preparation.

Tuesday, August 29

Severe flooding on interstate highways and roads caused UMCOR Sager Brown delivery of cleaning kits to be re-routed to Beaumont, Texas.

UMCOR Sager Brown Depot attempted a delivery of 1,000 cleaning kits to Conroe, Texas to affiliate warehouse, the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church Mission Center.

Monday, August 28

UMCOR disaster recovery grants for Hurricane Harvey were issued to Texas Annual Conference and the Rio Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church.

UMCOR Sager Brown prepared a load of 1,000 cleaning kits to be distributed in Texas.

Friday, August 25

In preparation for Hurricane Harvey, UMCOR contacted Conference Disaster Response Coordinators at the Texas Annual Conference, the Rio Texas Annual Conference, and the Louisiana Annual Conference.

UMCOR – United Methodist Committee On Relief is grateful for your relentless prayers and support.