Also see Hurricane Harvey Response
Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida on Sept. 10 with record-force winds and storm surges. The storm then continued north to Georgia and South Carolina. Millions of people in Florida evacuated or moved to approved shelters before the storm hit.
Hurricane Irma hit islands in the Caribbean early on Sept. 6 and has caused widespread destruction and loss throughout the region. As Global Ministries partner churches or on-going partners through Church World Service are affected or responding, UCC Disaster Ministries is there – now and for the long term. Hurricane Irma hits just as Global Ministries has begun an 18-month focus on long-term partnerships in the region, the Caribbean Initiative.
In the United States, the ongoing team of UCC Disaster Coordinators is active with local, statewide, and national disaster networks and communication with their local UCC churches. UCC Disaster Ministries is there – now and for the long term.
The Disaster by the numbers:
- 49 million people in the area of impact
- 185-mph winds sustained for 37 hours, longest and strongest storm in history
- Category 5 on impact in Caribbean, Category 4 on impact in Florida
- 3,600 people in shelters in the US currently
- Media reporting 68 storm-related fatalities
- 5.5 million people were without electricity in Florida and 1 million in Georgia and South Carolina
- 70% of homes in Puerto Rico lost electricity
- 80% of structures in US Virgin Islands suffered severe damage or were destroyed
- 13 of 15 provinces in Cuba withstood damage
- 2.3 million people in Cuba with a disrupted supply of power
The UCC is part of response networks you see on the news and those you don’t see. UCC Disaster Ministries already is gearing up for our long-term recovery work in the region and your contributions for Irma survivors means providing community support for holistic recovery, repairing house and home for families and children and restoring dignity for the most vulnerable who have lost everything in the wake of this catastrophic event.
Hurricane Maria hit islands in the Caribbean on Sept. 19 as a Category 5 hurricane. Maria follows in the path of Hurricane Irma that hit just 2 weeks prior. Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane.
The Disaster by the numbers:
- Puerto Rico's power grid is completely down. There is no electricity on the island.
WAYS TO HELP
GIVE generously to support hurricane relief and recovery efforts by clicking on the link to make a secure online donation. Gifts may also be made at your local UCC congregation marked for “Hurricane Relief” with the request they be sent through your Conference office or to the UCC national office. Donations may be sent directly to United Church of Christ, Financial Services - 6th Floor, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.
Your gifts will go to support the relief and recovery efforts of international partners and your gifts will be meeting the unique needs of vulnerable individuals and families in the United States. In the United States, UCC Disaster Ministries fills gaps in services through the following provisions:
- Spiritual care
- Community organizing
- Repair and reconstruction of homes
- Building materials
- Volunteer coordination
For stories of your donations in action, follow us on Facebook!
VOLUNTEER - Volunteers around the country are needed in the months and years ahead. Individuals to be trained and serve for periods of 6-12 months will be needed for leadership. Groups will be needed to come for a week at a time to rebuild homes and walk with people as they recover their lives and dreams.
Sign up here to be the first to receive information on registration for long-term recovery. Past volunteers in long-term disaster recovery have removed carpet and drywall from flooded homes, installed framing, listened to local stories of the disaster, and wrote guest editorials in their local news outlets.
Skilled roofers are needed in Volusia County, FL now in response to both Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Register here. On 9/14/17, Volusia County emergency management director Jim Judge said Irma caused at least $319 million in damage in the county.
UCC Disaster Ministries discourages U.S. volunteers in disaster recovery in the Caribbean as we support the activity of local people and our support helps rebuild the local economy as part of the recovery.
ASSEMBLE CLEANUP BUCKETS - UCC Disaster Ministries is offering $250 matching grants to congregations assembling CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets. In a hurricane emergency with widespread, severe flooding, the demand for buckets is high - CWS distributed 8,000 buckets after Hurricane Matthew. CWS has re-opened their depots and added special ones. Find your closest depot here.
PREPARE - Use this time of attention to disaster to prepare your family, your congregation, your community.
Sept. 18, 2017: Love Them Back to Life
Sept. 14, 2017: Early assessment in Florida finds damage to two UCC churches
Sept. 14, 2017: Commentary: Our displaced neighbors
Sept. 11, 2017: Irma makes devastating impact on South Florida
Sept. 7, 2017: Commentary: Where is the hope?
Sept. 13, 2017: Hurricane Irma's Impact on Caribbean Partners (Global Ministries)
Sept. 11, 2017: Hurricane Irma: Remember the Poor and Marginalized (National Council of Churches)