Hurricane Matthew in Haiti – the Church Responds

Hurricane Matthew in Haiti – the Church Responds

10/7/2016

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Brulan Jean-Michel, the manager of the Methodist Guest House in Petionville, Haiti, summarized what many were thinking when he wrote: “I want to thank each and everyone for their thoughts and prayers as hurricane Matthew passed over Haiti. It has been, and still is, a very difficult situation to deal with due to the fact that we have not yet completely recovered from the devastation caused by the earthquake of 2010. I sometimes find myself asking, Why Haiti again? Then I realize that this is the geographical position God assigned to us so we have no choice.”
No doubt each one of us has asked that question at one time or another – and asked it again this past week.

However, in true Methodist fashion, the other question that has been asked by Methodists from the New York Conference and throughout the country is, What can we do?

UMCOR (the United United Methodist Committee on Relief) has been in contact with Bishop Gesner Paul of the Methodist Church of Haiti (EMH) and pledged both their prayers and financial assistance to the relief and recovery effort. Bishop Paul reported on October 7 that a full assessment of the damage by Matthew was not yet possible because of the difficulties with communications and transportation. Brulan Jean – Michel did have the opportunity to visit several of the affected areas. Bishop Paul is hoping to visit the south and western parts of the country, the most heavily affected, as soon as safe travel is possible. UMCOR will also assist Bahamas Methodist Habitat with a grant in response to Matthew’s damage to that part of the Caribbean. Please read the full UMCOR statement on the UMCOR website (UMCOR.org – “UMCOR responds to Hurricane Matthew.”) Opportunities for financial support are also available on the site.

Rev. Tom Vencuss, NYAC Disaster Response Coordinator, who served three years in Haiti as the coordinator of the UMCOR/VIM earthquake response program, has also been in phone contact with Bishop Paul and Brulan Jean-Michel.  As we receive more details and information we will make them available to the annual conference and work with Bishop Bickerton and conference leadership to determine an appropriate conference response.  More information, including a letter from Bishop Gesner Paul and updates from UM personnel on the ground are being posted here.

A gift to UMCOR International Disaster Response, Advance #982450, and UMCOR US Disaster Response, Advance 901670, will help the United Methodist Committee on Relief respond to needs generated by Hurricane Matthew and other emergencies.