2017 Hurricane Responses
The 2017 hurricane season has brought devastating damage and flooding to areas in the United States and in the Atlantic/Caribbean. Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services ahave already responded and plan to support the impacted communities in the long road to recovery.
Hurricane Irma and Maria in the Caribbean
As the second and fourth major hurricanes of 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria left a path of destruction in September across the islands of the Caribbean.
Puerto Rico bore the full brunt of Hurricane Marie’s category 4 wind, rain and storm surge, after experiencing Hurricane Irma’s affects a little over a week earlier. Marie caused widespread destruction, flooding and mudslides and knocked out the entire electrical grid.
Disaster response and recovery plans are being developed that include a major response to support Puerto Rico, agriculture support in Haiti and grants to support the Church World Service response in the Caribbean. Funds are already being sent for emergency relief efforts in Puerto Rico. The long-term response will likely include volunteer workcamps and home rebuilding.
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the U.S.
Brethren Disaster Ministries monitored Hurricane Harvey as it made landfall in Texas and Hurricane Irma as it moved across the Atlantic and Caribbean and toward Florida. This was the first time that two hurricanes made landfall as Category 4 storms in the same year, even though both weakened once they moved over land.
Children’s Disaster Services is the first wave of the BDM U.S. hurricane response with teams in evacuation centers and shelters working in partnership with Red Cross and now in Disaster Recovery Centers in partnership with FEMA. By the end of September, more than 70 CDS volunteers have cared for well over 1,000 children in 18 locations. The response to support children and families in their time of crisis continues in Florida and Texas.
As flood waters recede, BDM staff are coordinating response efforts in the storm affected areas and planning with Church of the Brethren leaders, Church World Service and other church partners. We will identify ways to have BDM volunteers support clean up and rebuilding efforts in the future. At this phase of the disasters, the urgent need is for Gift of the Heart Clean-up Buckets and Hygiene Kits. (see "Ways to Help") For more information, contact 410-635-8797 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Responding to any disaster is a long-term effort that will take many years. BDM currently has active rebuild sites helping homeowners affected by historic flooding and storms in Missouri and by Hurricane Matthew in South Carolina in October 2016. Until recovery programs are established following the recent hurricanes, you are encouraged to serve these survivors by contacting your District Disaster Coordinator or the BDM office to schedule a trip (410-635-8730 or email@example.com).