Churches in Puerto Rico are at the stressful and demanding front lines of meeting needs left by Hurricane Maria two years ago. They include UCC Disaster Ministries’ Hurricane Maria recovery partner IEUPR (Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Puerto Rico). More than 80 IEUPR pastors and staff got a break October 16-21 at a retreat in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, organized by the IEUPR and funded by UCC Disaster Ministries.
Send joyful Christmas greetings and provide your friends and family a practical tool to get prepared for natural disasters at the same time. Disaster Preparedness Christmas Cards from United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries include a complete up-to-date list of what should be included in an individual ‘Go-Bag’ – a bag that is prepared to grab and ‘go’ when a disaster strikes. A faithful reminder to start the year off prepared!
$5,000 seed grants from UCC Disaster Ministries will go toward costs for four Hurricane Michael long-term recovery groups in the Florida Panhandle - Liberty (County) Strong, Gadsden (County) Strong, Citizens of Gulf County Recovery Team and the North Florida Inland Long-Term Recovery Group (Jackson and Calhoun Counties). The UCC also is supporting recovery in Bay and Washington counties, including with recruitment of volunteer work teams.
UCC Disaster Ministries and the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Puerto Rico (IEUPR) have completed the restoration of 105 Maria-damaged homes to date, especially the repair of roofs, with the help of 420 volunteers. Immediate goal: by June 2020, restore 45 more roofs wait-listed to be fixed to bring the total to 150. UCC Disaster Ministries will continue to support recovery efforts as long as financial resources allow. Give/volunteer!
In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, UCC Disaster Ministries is assessing how it can best contribute to long-term recovery in the Bahamas. Its early support includes $15,000 to support care for 25 orphaned, abused, neglected or abandoned children evacuated from Grand Bahama after Hurricane Dorian destroyed the Children's Home there.
It's a gift that keeps on giving! UCC Disaster Ministries' initial investment of $200,000 has built earthquake-resistant homes for 53 vulnerable families who survived the devastating 2015 earthquakes in Nepal. The families are paying back interest-free loans into a revolving fund, already used to build 20 more homes. Now the UCC has just sent an additional $40,000 for yet more homes!
$15,000 from UCC Disaster Ministries will fund 12 months of resiliency training for an entire village in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, which a year ago (September 28, 2018) suffered a massively destructive earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 2,000 people and displaced tens of thousands. The goal is to build communities with independent ability to avoid danger, adapt to disaster risks and recover quickly.
National Preparedness Month is recognized each September to promote family and community disaster and emergency planning now and throughout the year. The 2019 theme is "Prepared, Not Scared." Visit ready.gov/september for an abundance of resources useful for promoting preparedness all year long. And don't forget UCC Disaster Ministries' Disaster Preparedness Manual for Churches.
In this commentary for National Preparedness Month, UCC Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth explored how the plethora of disasters that we've already experienced in 2019 is yet another wake-up call for all of us to have a preparedness plan and kit in place.
There's a lot you can do right now!