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Disaster Response

CONFERENCE PREPARATION
The Seashore District, Katrina Recovery, the Conference Disaster Relief leadership and the Conference Office staff are working together to prepare for the possible impact of Gustav. We are in regular contact with the National Weather Service, MEMA (Mississippi Emergency Management Agency), MS VOAD (Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters), and other partner organizations for a more organized response that stretches resources and avoids duplication. 

What should you do?
1) Pray.
2) Continue preparations!See the “Disaster Prep Top 10” and www.ready.gov.
3) Stay tuned to your local radio and television for updates.
4) Continue to monitor this website for updates.
5) Consider donating to the response efforts if we are impacted
6) Do not collect or donate clothes!
7) Please limit traveling to the affected areas immediately after impact to allow emergency personnel to do their jobs.

Conference Response Overview
• First, we want to be sure that our churches, pastors, staffs, and members are accounted for.

• Second, we move toward others in need based upon need and available resources.

• We support the efforts of the impacted districts.

Important contact information: (Please check for updates here first!)
Conference Disaster Relief Information Line – 866-647-7486

Conference Disaster Relief Coordinator — C. J. Caufield

Seashore District Disaster Response Coordinator — David Cumbest

Katrina Recovery Director — Robert Sharp

At the 2006 Annual Conference, Bishop Hope Morgan Ward challenged every church to develop a plan for responding to a natural disaster. She asked each church to do three things:
  • Be ready to care for the church family. That includes adopting a plan for staying in contact even when communication lines are down.
  • Be a mission station. Every church can do something to help, such as prepare flood buckets, train work teams, etc.
  • Be ready to stay connected to your neighbors. The bishop urged churches to take care of all those who live around them.

Clergy and lay members received a handout posing 10 questions for their churches to answer. The "Disaster Prep Top 10" questions:

 

In the event of a natural disaster…

 

  1. How will you contact your membership, particularly if power or phone service is disrupted?
  2. How will you help yourself and your congregation evacuate or prepare if the storm threatens your area?
  3. How will you secure and back up your church records?
  4. How will your church be a "mission station"?
  5. How will you partner with neighboring churches?
  6. How will you tell your story?
  7. Do you have adequate insurance for all church facilities, including parsonage, and do you know how to contact your insurance carrier?
  8. Clergy, is your personal emergency contact information (including your cell number and your e-mail address) up-to-date with the conference and your district office?
  9. Do you know the list of emergency items and essential supplies to request/collect before and following a storm? (Hint: No clothes!)
  10. How are you preparing for the next disaster/storm season? 

When you have answered these 10 questions, you're well on the way to forming your local church disaster response plan!

UMCOR
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is the not-for-profit humanitarian agency of The United Methodist Church. Since 1940 UMCOR's mission - providing relief in disaster areas, aiding refugees and confronting the challenge of world hunger and poverty - has helped to heal the hurts of humanity in nearly 100 countries. UMCOR maintains a corps of trained disaster response specialists for quick reinforcement of national efforts and keeps a supply of relief materials in warehouses for dispatch when and where required.

When you give to the United Methodist Committee on Relief you can be sure that your money will go where you want it to go. One hundred percent of your tax-deductible gifts go to the emergency or project that you designate. UMCOR's administrative costs come from other sources, especially the United Methodist One Great Hour of Sharing offering.

Conference disaster response director is Rev. C.J. Caufield. E-mail him at disasters@mississippi-umc.org. In addition, each district has a coordinator.


DISASTER RESPONSE LINKS
Mississippi United Methodist Katrina Response Center

Giving to Hurricane Katrina Recovery