As we watch the disaster of Hurricane Harvey unfold in south Texas, we can start our efforts to be part of the relief and recovery efforts. This disaster is still in the emergency phase with people being rescued and sheltered as we speak. Preliminary information from UMCOR and the conferences impacted is contained in the link below:
Initially, there is and will be a significant monetary need to support the sheltering efforts of those displaced. There will also be a very long rebuild/recovery effort over a very large area for some time to come. It may be the middle of next week or later before any Emergency Response Teams or other volunteer teams may be allowed into the disaster areas to start work. Any teams that will be going into the disaster area within the next month to six weeks should be prepared to be a self-sufficient as possible so they will not add to the strain on the local resources.
A Message From UMVIM, SEJ's Executive Director
Here are things that we can and should be doing now:
||Hurricane Harvey has left its mark on Louisiana and Texas.
Sadly, the disaster is on-going and more than likely will get worse
over the next few days.
Here are a couple of ways you can help right now:
- Give to the UMCOR Domestic Disaster Response Advance#901670.
The Advance is a great tool we have as United
Methodists to show our support. 100% of what you give will go
to the relief effort.
- If you are ERT trained and certified, put down your car keys
and organize with other ERT trained individuals in your local
church and community to be ready when the call comes for
teams. It may be weeks, or even months, before the request
for teams comes in. The pain and loss that victims feel will
continue long after the camera crews have left-and that's
when we are needed most.
Here are a couple of things that are NOT helpful:
-Repeatedly calling or emailing the Rio Texas Conference or other
affected areas in the next few days and letting them know you
want to help. The disaster is on-going and their resources right
now should be focused on managing the disaster-not phone
calls of potential volunteers. They will let us know what they
need, I promise.
-Getting in your car and going to the affected areas, or donating
used clothes and other items that may not be needed.
We will be updating our website with new information as it comes
The Rio Texas Conference has a webpage set up at riotexas.org/harvey for you to stay informed.
Rev. Matt Lacey, Executive Director
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, Southeastern Jurisdiction
Amy Fuselier, the Director of UMCOR Relief Supplies, sent out the following email to Conference Disaster Response Coordinators:
||As we here at UMCOR prepare to provide assistance to those who need it most, I also ask for support of our efforts in building our inventory of relief supplies. At this time, we are in need of hygiene kits and cleaning buckets. With many potentially suffering damage to their homes from flood waters, our greatest need is cleaning buckets. If there are opportunities for assistance, please encourage participation in this ministry. Kits can be sent directly to Sager Brown, Depot West or delivered to an affiliate warehouse nearest you. Thank you all for your support.
Director of UMCOR Relief Supplies
General Board of Global Ministries | The United Methodist Church | Sager Brown and Depot West
101 Sager Brown Road, Baldwin, LA 70514
(T): 337-923-6238 x 216 | http://www.umcmission.org
The assumption is that most of cleaning buckets now on hand in the various warehouses will be sent to the disaster to cover the initial need and that additional cleaning buckets and hygiene kits will be needed for the relief and recovery efforts as they develop. We can start now building a supply of both health kits and cleaning buckets to either meet the second round of need or rebuild the UMCOR supplies.
District Coordinators have been requested to secure one or two locations in their districts that will be willing to be collection points for churches building cleaning buckets and hygiene kits. We have asked tobe notified of these locations by Wednesday, August 30th.
If your church is willing and able to be such a collection point, please make yourself known to either your District Office or District Disaster Ministry Coordinator.
The District Coordinators have also been requested to continue efforts to secure a contact in each church in addition to the pastor to facilitate the communication of these needs and our response.
The Conference will be working on the logistics of collecting them from the district points and getting them to a UMCOR warehouse. We would like to plan to start collecting supplies from the district collection points the week of September 11th. This will require that the need is communicated to the district churches as soon as possible and not wait until Sunday to communicate the need. This is an aggressive time line, but then so is the need.
Beyond the requested supplies of cleaning buckets and hygiene kits, the most effective contribution that individuals can make will be monetary contributions to UMCOR.
United States Disaster Response Advance #901670
- Support UMCOR's response to disasters in the US. Individuals can go directly to the UMCOR site, UMCOR.org and donate.