UMCOR Responds to Current Disasters

UMCOR Responds to Current Disasters


Click here for updates on our current disaster response.

UMCOR Responds to Hurricane Maria

Friday, September 22, 2017

With the passing of the storm, hurricane Maria left Puerto Rico with severe damage to homes, power lines, and widespread flooding. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said Maria is the "most devastating storm to hit the island this century, if not in modern history."

Officials from Puerto Rico’s power companies say that Puerto Ricans might not get power back for four to six months, however, hospitals and water systems will get priority power restoration. Powered by emergency generators, the island's largest airport, the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, was opened to receive military and rescue operations on Thursday.

At this time, UMCOR is unable to receive communications from its partners on the island because of power outages. UMCOR will wait to respond as its partners conduct an assessment of what is most needed.

UMCOR Responds to Earthquakes in Mexico

Friday, September 22, 2017

UMCOR is in communication with its partners in the impacted region, including the local Methodist Church, and is ready to support with relief efforts. Please pray for those surviving the earthquakes and for emergency responders. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Another earthquake struck Mexico, impacting the states Puebla, Mexico, and Morelos. At least 225 people are confirmed dead from the 7.1 magnitude quake, making it the deadliest earthquake in over 30 years. Emergency crews and volunteers worked to search the rubble of collapsed buildings to rescue trapped survivors. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

UMCOR has reached out to partners on the island of Dominica who have previously attended UMCOR trainings. We have requested they send a situational report and their plans for responding to the effects of hurricane Maria on the island.

Monday, September 18: Update on U.S. Disaster Response

Cathy Earl, UMCOR’s director of U.S. disaster response, met with conference personnel to review and support The Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church to optimize communication pathways, distribution of supplies, and coordination of volunteers as the conference plans for recovery. Staff have been assigned to manage communications for two weeks. Florida Annual Conference hired a director of recovery ministries and identified a volunteer coordinator. Barbara Tripp, UMCOR disaster response consultant, will follow up with Florida Annual Conference to help establish ERT reception and the volunteer network. Florida Annual Conference has been asked by FEMA to lead the case management task force. UMCOR will also be supporting this work through grants and technical guidance.

Friday, September 15: Update on the Caribbean

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, St Martin/St Maarten, the British Virgin Islands, and Turks and Caicos are the islands most affected by hurricane Irma. Critical needs for supplies and support are being addressed around the clock. In the Dominican Republic and Haiti, local authorities are managing response and restoration to normal activities in the affected areas with local resources, as the effects are less than originally anticipated. Cuba withstood damage to 13 of its 15 provinces, reporting 10 deaths and damage to agriculture, water supply, and telecommunications. Humanitarian partners continue to work and coordinate with regional organizations and local governments throughout the affected countries as assessments continue to reveal the range and depth of the needs caused by Irma.
UMCOR International Disaster Response is currently in communication with our partners in the Caribbean and awaiting assessment analysis from them to provide effective relief to those affected by hurricane Irma. 

To support UMCOR’s work in responding to the effects of Hurricane Irma outside of the United States, please give to the International Disaster Response Advance, #982450.

Update: Monday, September 11

The Methodist bishop of Puerto Rico requests prayers for his island and its people. Read the letter from Bishop Héctor F. Ortiz Vidal here.

Friends of UMCOR—here is an update on the Caribbean from Dr. Olusimbo Kehinde Ige, Interim Executive Director of UMCOR. 

Hurricane Irma has become one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic, a category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 295 km/hour. To date, it has passed over Barbuda, Saint Barthelemy, Anguilla, Saint Marten, British and US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Turks and Caicos, Cuba, the Bahamas and currently passing through Florida with Georgia in line. Extensive damage has been reported in Barbuda and Anguilla where 70-90% of the buildings were destroyed. 27 people reported dead across affected territories, 34,000 people displaced in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Over 1 million people were evacuated along the coastline in central and eastern Cuba. 17,000 people are in need of immediate shelter across the affected eastern Caribbean islands. Assessments will take place over the coming days to determine the number of people in need of food assistance. More than 10,000 people are in temporary shelters in the North. The damage to the Dominican Republic was less than expected, with no fatalities reported. There is damage to water infrastructure that affects 1.2 million people, according to the national water authorities.

Livelihoods in affected communities are anticipated to be an area of need when recovery efforts begin. Widespread flooding has been recorded in northern Cuba as well including Havana, there has also been significant damage to farms including swine and poultry. Concerns have also been raised about possible waterborne disease outbreaks as flooding is likely to persist for 36 hours at least. Most of the coastal municipalities in affected countries are without electricity. Given the level of damage so far, Haiti and Cuba are likely to be our first areas of response outside of the US and US territories, this is because of the significant level of damage and our Methodist connections in these countries. We are awaiting response from MCCA about support to Barbuda and Anguilla.

UMCOR will continue to monitor Irma’s impact on the Caribbean and provide updates here. Please consider making a generous donation to UMCOR’s International disaster recovery work here.

For continuing updates, please visit the UMCOR Facebook page.