|New hurricane season brings need for donations|
By Linda Bloom*
Sept. 10, 2007 | NEW YORK (UMNS)
As reports begin filtering in from Nicaragua and Honduras about damage
from Hurricane Felix, the United Methodist Committee on Relief is
preparing to respond.
Hurricane Felix struck northern Nicaragua and southern
Honduras on Sept. 4. The United Methodist Committee on Relief seeks
donations to help survivors of this year's hurricane season. A UMNS
photo courtesy of NASA.
But donations are needed to provide relief both for victims of Felix
and others needing assistance during the 2007 hurricane season,
according to the Rev. Tom Hazelwood, UMCOR's domestic disaster
Hurricane Felix pummeled the coastlines of northern Nicaragua and
southern Honduras Sept. 4 with 160 mph winds and drenching rains.
Indigenous people in the area, many unable to evacuate, were expected to
be heavily affected by hurricane and resulting rains and mudslides. As
of Sept. 7, Central American officials had put the death toll at close
"Our church has responded so generously to the big hurricanes like
Katrina … sometimes we forget that the people of Honduras and Nicaragua
were devastated by this (Felix)," said Hazelwood in a Sept. 7 telephone
interview after attending a summit in New Orleans on Katrina recovery.
The scope of the damage from Felix isn't yet known, although
Hazelwood added that UMCOR has received communications from United
Methodist Bishop Elias Galvan in Honduras and from missionaries there
and in Nicaragua.
Both countries were devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which took
the same path as Felix, although Felix was smaller in scope and moved
faster. However, he pointed out, "The mudslides and the rain are causing
serious problems there."
Giving donations now to UMCOR's Hurricanes 2007 fund will allow for a
more effective response, according to Hazelwood. "With Katrina, the
church began to respond before we even knew all the details," he said.
"The need is going to be there (for Felix)."
Two Category 5 storms
Hurricanes Felix and Dean marked a serious beginning for the current
hurricane season. "This is the first time in history you've had two
Category 5 hurricanes make landfall in the same season," Hazelwood
"September is the most active hurricane month … who knows what we'll have to respond to even yet," he added.
The Rev. Tom Hazelwood
UMCOR provided a major response in Central America after Hurricane
Mitch. More recently, in 2005, the agency provided relief when several
tropical storms and hurricanes ravaged indigenous communities in
Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador.
Giving to UMCOR
Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma were among the
storms that made the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season the most active in
recorded history and supplied UMCOR with a record amount of donations
for relief work.
A recent report, "Serving Survivors," which can be found on the
agency's Web site, summarizes the denomination's response so far to
damage caused by those hurricanes.
Nearly 6,000 individuals, for example, had received United Methodist
assistance as of June 30, during long-term recovery efforts in the Gulf
Coast. Total giving was more than $66 million — the highest ever given
to an UMCOR Advance.
Checks for Hurricanes 2007 can be dropped in church collection plates
or mailed directly to UMCOR at P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. Write
"UMCOR Advance #982511, Hurricanes 2007," on the memo line of the
check. Credit-card donations can be made by calling (800) 554-8583 or be
clicking on any of the "Give Now" links at http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor online.
*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or email@example.com.
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