UMCOR Response to Tornadoes (updated)

UMCOR Response to Tornadoes (updated)


UMCOR has been in contact with conference Disaster Response personnel in hard-hit areas, including Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee, and received initial early assessments of the damages caused by the severe weather that struck 12 states.

We are posting updates to the website ( and to the Facebook page ( on a regular basis.  Tom Hazelwood is also reporting from the field on Twitter (@TomUMCOR).

UMCOR requests prayers for all who have been affected by these tornadoes and storms. Donations to US Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #901670 will be used for the response.  There is also an allowance for a sub-designation to Tornadoes 2012 (it is a drop down on the giving page),

Update: 3/9/2012

Dear friends in disaster ministry:

UMCOR has received a number of communications from eager volunteers, many of whom are trained and ready to respond to the recent disasters to help. UMCOR is requesting your help  – Conference Disaster Response Coordinators and UMVIM Coordinators in particular – to help to get the word out as a reminder to all these dedicated servants about one of UMCOR’s basic principles for disaster response.  

UMCOR’s disaster response training is based on the principle that the disaster response is “owned” by local community.  

If and when the Annual Conferences are overwhelmed, they will reach out to their neighbors for help.

Early Response Team members know that they must be invited into another annual conference, and this is true of all volunteers.

The Annual Conferences affected by these recent tornadoes are managing the response and taking a measured approach to assessment and planning for next steps. The Conferences have reported that they have sufficient human resources and are able to respond; there is no need to extend an invitation for help from outside of the local area.

Tom Hazelwood, Assistant General Secretary for UMCOR U.S. Disaster Response reports the following:

“At this time, all of the areas of IL, KY, and IN are over-run with local volunteers. Every site that I have visited this week has more volunteers than can be managed. Some of the communities are dealing with pre-existing environmental issues, and the Conferences are working with emergency managers who are managing the clean up in these communities.”

 It is great to know that United Methodists are deeply committed and ready to respond! The offer of assistance is appreciated, and there may be opportunities for volunteers to assist in the future. In the meantime, please graciously respect the direction of the affected conferences. Visit the conference web sites for updates regarding volunteer opportunities.

Thank all for caring so deeply, and for affirming our shared values and priorities in disaster ministry!

Catherine Earl, MSW
US Disaster Response
United Methodist Committee on Relief
100 Maryland Ave. NE, Suite 315
Washington DC 20002