Thursday, September 01, 2005



In these early days after a disaster of this magnitude, there remains a state of emergency. Communication with the affected areas is difficult and details continue to be uncertain about persons and places connected with the United Methodist Church. But even as the official rescue efforts are occurring, UMCOR is engaged in the planning and strategizing for long-term recovery.

Early reports from the affected annual conferences are still unclear with many areas not yet heard from. UMCOR Disaster Response executive Tom Hazelwood will arrive in Jackson, MS, Thursday to tour the coastal areas with Bishop Hope Morgan Ward and to initialize the Mississippi Annual Conference disaster response efforts. UMCOR consultants are being deployed to the Louisiana Annual Conference and the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference on Friday to undertake the same tasks. Alabama-West Florida reports that the damage from Hurricane Katrina is much more severe in Alabama than from Hurricane Ivan last year. This compounds the damage in those areas which have not fully recovered from Ivan.
UMCOR Disaster Response is a three phase process. The emergency stage is the present stage and is anticipated to last for up to 10 days. During this time rescue efforts and infrastructure repair are carried out by official agencies.
In the second phase, the relief phase, assistance is provided to home owners who need to "muck out," assess damage, receive emotional and spiritual care, and begin their long road to recovery. During this time the local churches are very active, acting as shelters and support areas for the community.

The third phase, long-term recovery, involves a holistic approach to people who have suffered losses, covering everything from seeking them out in their neighborhood to providing information and advocacy about their federal and state assistance rights. In coordination with other religious bodies and community service agencies, UMCOR will participate in repairing and rebuilding of homes, and assistance with living expenses.

Tomorrow night our youth group is having a lock-in. We typically have a "Back To School" Lock-in every year. Last night as our congregation sat around tables after dinner we discussed what we as a church could do in these beginning steps toward helping those affected by Katrina.

The youth decided that they want to have a "Flood Bucket Scavenger Hunt". We're all going to bring money to the lock-in, split into small teams, divide the $$ equally and go out with a list and see which team can make the almighty dollar go the furtherest. Then when we get back we'll assemble our flood buckets/health kits and get them to UMCOR.

Our youth group never ceases to amaze me at how they can creatively express their compassion. The lock-in is a night for them to unwind and just have a good time together, but now they have turned it into a Kingdom moment. In the words of Napaleon Dynamite, "YESSS".

Kits to Sustain Everyday Life

1 comment:

TN Rambler said...

Sounds like a wonderful and creative way to meet the need.