2013: Cleaning up after dangerous winds, floods

Editor’s note: This is part of a series about the issues and events that were front and center in the lives of United Methodists in 2013.

A November typhoon that left part of the Philippines in ruins was reminiscent of the 2004 South Asian tsunami while in the United States, tornado-prone Oklahoma witnessed the nation’s widest tornado on record and Colorado floodwaters cut off mountain towns for days.

International response

Stark television images of people who lost family and homes as Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines Nov. 8 drew concern from United Methodists around the world, including members of the National Association of Filipino American United Methodists

The United Methodist Committee on Relief, which had received more than $1.7 million for typhoon relief by early December,sent a team and truckload of supplies, delivering 1,500 food packages Nov. 20-21 to storm-ravaged communities.“We thought it was the end of the world,” said Erlinda Andal, 30, as she waited for a food package. She and her family survived the typhoon by climbing to the roof of their home.

United Methodist Communications worked with one if its partners, Inveneo, a technology company, to address disrupted communications after the typhoon and sent a team to the affected area.

The Rev. Jack Amick, who directs UMCOR’s international emergency response, said a three-fold response for the Philippines includes food aid through December, limited small grants for psycho-social programs and a major project to build permanent housing in the typhoon area.

Another major international focus in 2014 will be UMCOR’s partnership with International Blue Crescent to create “child-friendly spaces” in Kilis, Turkey, for Syrian refugee children.

U.S. disasters

Even veterans of numerous Oklahoma tornado seasons admitted to being rattled by the extreme weather there in May.

“Normally, we are used to this,” said the Rev. David Wilson, superintendent of the United Methodist Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference,. “But just because there have been so many… it’s been very challenging for us to deal with.”

Oklahoma’s United Methodists are collaborating with other groups, including the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, The Salvation Army and Society of St. Vincent de Paul to assist individuals and families through the Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Project.

After massive flooding in Colorado in September,United Methodists dispatched cleaning buckets and health kits and created an “Ambassadors of Love” programthat paired United Methodist churches in badly affected areas with those in areas that came through relatively unscathed. The program helped provide more volunteers for relief and recovery efforts in those communities.

Churches also provided shelter after a November outbreak of tornadoes that caused damage in Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

As the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy was observed Oct. 28, United Methodists in New York, New Jersey and Delaware were in the recovery phase of a long-term response that includes the rebuilding of homes and case management to help some affected by the superstorm.

More volunteer-in-mission teams are needed for the Sandy response next year, as well as disaster recovery sites in Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas and Illinois. A list of U.S. and international volunteer projects can be found here.

“We have a lot of response sites that really will be up and running in April and looking for heavy volunteer involvement,” said Greg Forrester, who leads UMCOR’s U.S. disaster response. One unique opportunity, in partnership with FEMA, is the call for skilled reconstruction teams in Alaska, starting in late May or June 2014.

In addition, UMCOR needs donations to help replenish supplies at its warehouses at Sager Brown and Salt Lake City, he said.

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service multimedia reporter based in New York. Follow her at https://twitter.com/umcscribe contact her at (646) 369-3759 or [email protected].

January

Syrian refugees welcomed to Lebanon

March

Japan: Two years of relief

April

UMCOR responds to Texas emergency

May

UMCOR responds to Texas tornadoes

Oklahoma Tornado: Don’t underestimate need for prayer

June

Oklahoma climbs back after multiple tornadoes

September

Coloradans come to terms with floods

Help by bucketsful in Colorado flood relief

October

Anatomy of a United Methodist disaster response

Syria’s Refugee Children Find Friendly Space

November

Philippines typhoon: The church responds

Filipino-American United Methodists ready to aid Typhoon Haiyan survivors

Bringing comfort to typhoon survivors in Philippines

Tornado Survivors: “It’s Going To Take a Long Time”

December

Communications vital to survival and recovery


Like what you're reading?  United Methodist Communications is celebrating 80 years of ministry! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community.  Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

umnews-subscriptions
Mission and Ministry
Bishop Rodolfo A. Juan (in red stole) and a team of United Methodists pray over generators for the Bicol Philippines Conference. The generators from United Methodist Communications are being loaned to churches to provide free charging to communities affected by a series of powerful typhoons in the Philippines. Photo by Jerome Mercado.

United Methodists rally to help typhoon survivors

From sheltering evacuees to raising money, gathering supplies and sharing generators, Filipino United Methodists and church partners are embracing those affected by recent storms.
Mission and Ministry
A nurse at Lokolé United Methodist Hospital in Kindu, Congo, returns a child to his mother after a routine immunization session. The United Methodist Church’s hospitals and clinics are helping vaccinate thousands of children each year in the country. Photo by Chadrack Tambwe Londe, UM News.

Church celebrates end of measles, Ebola outbreaks in Congo

United Methodist health centers in remote areas were key in helping to immunize children and end a measles epidemic that killed more than 7,000.
Mission and Ministry
The heavy rains brought by Hurricane Eta caused major flooding, especially in the northern part of the Honduras. Tocoa was one of the areas affected by the floods and United Methodists are supporting the recovery of the affected communities. Photo courtesy of the United Methodist Mission.

United Methodists in Honduras face tragedy with solidarity

After Hurricane Eta brought devastation to Honduras, United Methodist churches mobilized to provide food, supplies and shelter.