“Please keep our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico in your prayers with Hurricane Dorian heading their way,” said Brethren Disaster Ministries director Jenn Dorsch-Messler in an email. The National Hurricane Center upgraded Dorian from tropical storm to hurricane status at 2 p.m. today. A hurricane watch and tropical storm warning is in effect for Puerto Rico with tropical storm conditions expected there this afternoon and tonight.
“Brethren Disaster Ministries is in close touch with the Puerto Rico District disaster coordinator José Acevedo, who has shared that they have activated their protocol with the local disaster coordinators in the areas of our Brethren churches. Brother José is monitoring information that is coming out of the Puerto Rico Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (PRVOAD) as well for situational awareness and knowledge of future needs from voluntary organizations,” Dorsch-Messler reported.
Today the forecast changed for the central and western areas of Puerto Rico, which is where the Brethren Disaster Ministries project is located. This change means that the island will not take a direct hit on the same path Hurricane Maria took in 2017, which was predicted earlier in the week.
Acevedo provided the following update from Puerto Rico this afternoon: “Another change, but this time at least good news for us. At 3:30 the weather is fine for central and west of PR. The east is expecting rain and flooding problems. Information from the weather office is telling us we may have additional rain in the east.”
Carrie Miller, long-term leader for Brethren Disaster Ministries in PR, will remain at Castañer Church of the Brethren where the volunteer housing is located, and will monitor the rain and flooding there. Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers are expected to arrive on Saturday to start work on a home in the Caimito area, but they may stay in Castañer over the weekend depending on any effects from the storm on the eastern part of the island.
Brethren Disaster Ministries will also monitor the future path of the storm, as the program opens a new rebuilding project site in Jacksonville, Fla., this week.
-- Jenn Dorsch-Messler, director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, contributed to this report. Find out more about Brethren Disaster Ministries at www.brethren.org/bdm .