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UMCOR Begins Three-Stage Response to Hurricane Katrina

Posted: August 30, 2005 Click to Visit Global News.  * Print-friendly

In these early days after a disaster of this magnitude, there remains a state of emergency. Communication with the affected areas is difficult and details continue to be uncertain about persons and places connected with the United Methodist Church. But even as the official rescue efforts are occurring, UMCOR is engaged in the planning and strategizing for long-term recovery.

Early reports from the affected annual conferences are still unclear with many areas not yet heard from. UMCOR Disaster Response executive Tom Hazelwood will arrive in Jackson, MS, Thursday to tour the coastal areas with Bishop Hope Morgan Ward and to initialize the Mississippi Annual Conference disaster response efforts. UMCOR consultants are being deployed to the Louisiana Annual Conference and the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference on Friday to undertake the same tasks. Alabama-West Florida reports that the damage from Hurricane Katrina is much more severe in Alabama than from Hurricane Ivan last year. This compounds the damage in those areas which have not fully recovered from Ivan.

UMCOR Disaster Response is a three phase process. The emergency stage is the present stage and is anticipated to last for up to 10 days. During this time rescue efforts and infrastructure repair are carried out by official agencies.

In the second phase, the relief phase, assistance is provided to home owners who need to "muck out," assess damage, receive emotional and spiritual care, and begin their long road to recovery. During this time the local churches are very active, acting as shelters and support areas for the community.

The third phase, long-term recovery, involves a holistic approach to people who have suffered losses, covering everything from seeking them out in their neighborhood to providing information and advocacy about their federal and state assistance rights. In coordination with other religious bodies and community service agencies, UMCOR will participate in repairing and rebuilding of homes, and assistance with living expenses.

"This is an anxious time for all of us because we are awaiting word from those we care about,” said UMCOR executive Kristin Sachen. “But we wait with hope in our hearts and with our hands and minds engaged in preparation for the right time for us to act on the scene." UMCOR is committed to the most vulnerable people affected by this hurricane, including those yet to be visited by what is now tropical storm Katrina. "We will bring our years or experience, our capable volunteers and our creativity to the rebuilding of these communities,” said Sachen.

See Also

News and Resources

Satellite Image of Katrina.

Satellite Image: Hurricane Katrina pounded the Gulf Coast on Monday. Relief efforts are underway. Credit: NOAA. August 27, 2005.

Urgent Need: Health Kits and Flood Buckets

There is an urgent need for both health kits and flood buckets. These collections of everyday items help families recover during the early days after a major disaster. The health kits contain items such as a toothbrush, wash cloth, and soap. The flood buckets contain items like gloves, household cleaners, and bleach to help people clean their homes to make them livable again.

For information on how to assemble and send these important items, please visit UMCOR’s website:

To donate money toward purchasing the items in these kits you can give to UMCOR Advance #901440, Material Resource Ministry.

How You Can Help


Your generous gift to UMCOR Advance #982523, Hurricanes 2005 Global, will help those affected by Hurricane Katrina. You can give online at, at your church, over the phone at 1-800-554-8583, or by mailing a check directly to: UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068. Checks should be written to UMCOR with the Advance number and name written on the memo line of your check. If you would prefer that your funds to go to recovery in a specific region, please note that on your donation.


Flood Buckets filled with cleaning supplies that people use to clean their homes after floods and hurricanes. For assembly and shipping instructions, call UMCOR Sager Brown at 1-800-814-8765 or visit the UMCOR website at You may also give a financial donation to to UMCOR's Material Resource Ministry, Advance #901440 to purchase cleaning supplies that the Depot staff and volunteers will use to assemble flood buckets.


Volunteers will be needed to help in Hurricane Katrina recovery. To find out how you can help with hurricane cleanup, contact your United Methodist Volunteers in Mission jurisdictional and annual conference coordinators. A list of these coordinators is available on the web at or write Mission Volunteers at for contact information. They will provide details on creating and training a team as well as scheduling details. For information on what disaster sites are currently scheduling volunteers, call the Volunteer Hotline at 800-918-3100.