Disaster Response update: Flood waters have receded and districts are now entering recovery phase
INUMC Mission and Justice Ministries has advised that statewide and district-designated response efforts have been effective in allowing families to regain a sense of comfort, security, and normalcy in their daily routines, after areas across Indiana were impacted by extreme downpour and flooding last month.
In late February, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb had declared nearly 20 counties as disaster emergency areas. Counties in the northwest region of Indiana, as well as the southwest corner of the state, along the Ohio river and northern parts of Kentucky.
The Conference Disaster Response team, in collaboration with Indiana Voluntary Active Organizations (VOAD), UMCOR disaster response aids, and churches across denominations, have worked cohesively in providing consistent communication and respond to the needs of those impacted by flooding in areas like Plymouth, Elkhart, and Utica, along with several other locations across the state of Indiana. The team advised that there is still much work to be done in rectifying the damages that have forced families, some temporarily, from their communities.
Through the commitment and willingness of local churches and multi-agency resource centers, volunteers have been active in providing aid and support to neighbors across Indiana, and continue in their current effort of preparing areas for long-term recovery.
How you can contribute:
Volunteer your time and effort: Volunteerism plays a significant role in helping with the recovery of areas that have experienced damage from floods and other types of inclement weather. To volunteer your time, effort or resources, you are encouraged to contact your district Disaster Response Coordinator to learn how you can get involved. Invite a neighbor and make an even greater impact!
Give as you are able: Donations to help mobilize sustainable recovery efforts in impacted areas are welcome. You are encouraged to give as you are able through UMCOR Indiana Disaster Fund, at the online giving portion on the INUMC website (fourth option from the bottom), or through your local church.
Stay in touch with INUMC Disaster Response at inumc.org/disasteresponse.
18 Indiana counties declared disaster emergency areas
Due to the recent heavy rainfall throughout the state of Indiana, Governor Eric Holcomb has declared 11 counties as disaster emergency areas. In both Porter and Jasper counties flooding is directly correlated to the rise of the Kankakee River. Other counties impacted include Carroll, Dearborn, Elkhart, Fulton, Lake, Marshall, Perry, St. Joseph, Starke, Switzerland, and White.
Indiana Michigan Power, the primary utility company that services the Northwest region of the state, has confirmed that many homes are still without electricity, and will remain as such until local inspections have been completed.
As of Monday morning, Governor Holcomb added seven additional counties to the disaster emergency declaration, increasing the number to 18. The swelling of the Ohio River has impacted areas along the river line in Southwest Indiana and Northern Kentucky, resulting in serious road conditions where road closures either indicate impassibility or road erosion due to persistent downpour.
The Indiana Conference Disaster Response Team has been actively in communication with Indiana Voluntary Active Organizations in Disaster (VOAD) and with our churches and districts to connect with local faith communities to assess the damage experienced, and how the Conference can best respond to their needs. Churches in areas impacted by severe flooding are advised to contact their respective District Disaster Response Coordinator(s), listed below:
Central District: Jack Haefling, firstname.lastname@example.org
North Central District: Fred Dunwiddie, email@example.com
North District: Vickie VanNeve, firstname.lastname@example.org
Northeast District: Gary Bard, email@example.com
Northwest District: Terry Brammer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Southeast District: Ed Cottrell, email@example.com
There will be need of volunteers and ERTs in the near future and more information will come as the team assesses needs. However, the most imperative need at the moment is donations to assist in the cost of recovery and to assist those who have been displaced. Click here to donate now or you can donate through your local church. You may also direct donations to the UMCOR United States Disaster Response Advance #901670.
As we continue to seek ways to be a missional Conference and offer the light of Jesus Christ to others, you are encouraged to be missional in your daily walk and reach out to those around you that have been impacted by this evolving natural disaster.
For questions regarding disaster response needs or contributions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
5 trailer-size containers set to arrive in Puerto Rico on Thanksgiving Day
Allison Curts of INUMC Mission and Justice Ministries is the UMCOR Sager Brown Depot in Baldwin, Louisiana, seeing first-hand the high level of effort and precision that goes into orchestrating the shipment of relief supplies to areas that have been impacted by extreme weather conditions.
Teams of Conference Disaster Response Coordinators, UMCOR staff, and local volunteers have worked hard to pack 5 trailer-size containers with cleaning buckets and hygiene kits for the people of Puerto Rico, who are still in a state of desperation after being hit by Category 5 Hurricane Maria in mid-September. Maria blazed through the island with winds up to 175 mph, leaving residents without shelter, basic essentials, and power.
Before setting off on its journey, teams laid their hands on the containers and joined in a moment of prayer for the items and the lives they will touch. The items are estimated to arrive in Puerto Rico on Thanksgiving Day.
How you can help those impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has been working intently throughout the past several days to effectively respond to the needs of those impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey, by issuing recovery grants to the Texas and Rio Texas Annual Conferences, as well as delivering cleaning kits to be distributed to those deprived of basic essentials.
UMCOR has organized a list of five things United Methodists and anyone else who may feel called to provide assistance, through a monetary donation, organizing relief kits, or through raising those impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey in prayer. The downloadable list and a bulletin insert can be found here: UMCOR responds to Harvey
If you wish to provide assistance to those affected by Tropical Storm Harvey, you can give in three ways:
Monetary donations are preferred right now, as monies are needed to help mobilize short and long-term recovery efforts, and provide aid for families that have been displaced or are incapacitated.
- With the help your church or community, you can help supply hygiene kits and cleaning buckets (collection and distribution information available below).
- UMCOR trained Early Response Teams are welcome to lend their efforts to help those who are experiencing immediate needs. Personnel must be trained and certified in emergency response procedures.
5 things you can do
Early Response Team Training: March 10 — Burket UMC
Burket UMC, 102 S. Market Street, Burket, will host an ERT Basic Certification Training Class, rom 8:30 a.m. — 5:00 p.m. (EST) Saturday, March 10, 2018. This class is constructed for persons interested in becoming certified Early Response Team members. Cost is $25 per person. Registration deadline is March 7.
Disaster recovery begins with an Early Response Team
The mission of an Early Response Team is to provide a caring Christian presence in the aftermath of disaster.
The team is neither a first response group of emergency workers nor a recovery, rebuild or repair team. Rather, it fills a specific need in the early days after a disaster to establish the presence of the church.
It is important to understand that ERTs are trained primarily to respond within their own community. To travel to another district, conference or jurisdiction requires an invitation from that area's ERT coordinator.
All ERTs are trained by authorized UMCOR trainers and given badges by their own conference. All ERTs are encouraged to wear bright green T-shirts as a means of recognition.
Stay up-to-date on invitations to volunteer and scheduled trainings by subscribing to Mission and Social Advocacy e-newsletter - click here to subscribe.
For more information about UMCOR relief projects, click here.
For more information about the North Central Jurisdiction Volunteers In Mission, click here.