UMCOR goes into action as hurricane strikes coast
Aug. 29, 2005
Courtesy of Marty Bahamonde/FEMA
Residents of New Orleans sought shelter at the Superdome in advance of Hurricane Katrina.
By Michelle Scott*
NEW YORK (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church’s relief agency was
already at work preparing for Hurricane Katrina before the Category 4
storm hit Louisiana.
Tom Hazelwood, disaster response executive for the United Methodist
Committee on Relief, had been in contact with the bishops and disaster
coordinators in the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama-West Florida
annual (regional) conferences since before Katrina made landfall in
Louisiana Aug. 29.
As soon as the storm moved out of those regions, UMCOR planned to begin
working with annual conferences to set up call centers and begin making
assessments. The assessment process will take days to begin in some
regions due to the extensive damage, the agency said.
“In the hardest-hit areas, it may be a week before we can get in to make
assessments,” Hazelwood said. UMCOR has been working with the Florida
Conference as United Methodists in the area continue to recover from
Katrina’s initial strike Aug. 25 in southern Florida.
In coming days, UMCOR said it would work with annual conferences to
coordinate relief efforts, such as receiving volunteers, making
assessments and distributing aid. Hazelwood planned to go to the
hurricane-affected area to assist in the disaster recovery.
“As the storm clears and the media focuses on the major metropolitan
areas affected by Katrina, UMCOR will be focusing on its mission to seek
out the people left most vulnerable by the storm, who often live in
outlying rural areas,” Hazelwood said. “We seek to help people who might
be otherwise overlooked.”
Courtesy of Marvin Nauman/FEMA
A destroyed mobile home in Florida shows the power of Hurricane Katrina.
UMCOR’s center for relief supplies, UMCOR Sager Brown, in Baldwin, La.,
was closed Aug. 29 in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina. The depot is
about 50 miles northwest of New Orleans, which was largely evacuated in
advance of the storm. UMCOR officials said they hoped to reopen Sager
Brown Aug. 30. All supplies sent to assist in hurricane recovery should
be sent to the Sager Brown center.
United Methodists can help in the response by:
• Contributing to UMCOR Advance No. 982523, “Hurricanes 2005 Global.”
Contributions can be made online at www.methodistrelief.org, at local
churches, or by phone at (800) 554-8583. Checks can also be mailed
directly to UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068. Checks should
be written to UMCOR with the Advance number and name written on the
memo line. Checks to support recovery in a specific region should
• Assembling flood buckets filled with cleaning supplies for people to
use in cleaning their homes. For assembly and shipping instructions,
call UMCOR Sager Brown at (800) 814-8765 or go to umcor.org
online. Financial donations can be made to “UMCOR’s Material Resource
Ministry,” Advance No. 901440, to buy cleaning supplies that the Sager
Brown Depot staff and volunteers will use to assemble flood buckets.
• Volunteering to help in Hurricane Katrina recovery. Write to Mission
Volunteers at firstname.lastname@example.org for contact information for United
Methodist Volunteers in Mission jurisdictional and conference
coordinators. They can provide details on creating and training a team
as well as scheduling. For information on disaster sites that are
scheduling volunteers, call the Volunteer Hotline, (800) 918-3100.
*Scott is communications specialist for the United Methodist Committee
on Relief, a unit of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.
News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
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