Chris Herlinger of Church World Service sends the following update concerning Hurricane Irene:
The U.S. Eastern Seaboard braced for Hurricane Irene today, with rains generated by the storm starting to fall in North and South Carolina. The storm could affect a large swath of the East Coast, from the Carolinas up to New England. While authorities and citizens were making preparations for Irene, the National Hurricane Center downgraded the storm today from a Category 3 to a Category 2 hurricane. Authorities warn that the storm continues to be a major and dangerous threat.
Church World Service emergency and domestic disaster response staff will be in contact with FEMA, state Voluntary Agencies Active in Disaster and existing long-term recovery groups. Likewise, in preparation for use by evacuees in shelters, CWS is providing affected areas with blankets and kits. Today, for example, CWS is sending 600 woolen blankets, 600 hygiene kits and 600 cleanup buckets to the Chesapeake (Maryland) American Red Cross, and will make more available as needs arise.
Contributions to disaster response efforts can be made here.
Week of Compassion Responds in the Caribbean
While Hurricane Irene is now making its way up the east coast of the United States, its effects have already been felt in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
According to Felix Ortiz, Global Ministries' Area Executive for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Dominican Evangelical Church is currently responding in the towns of Cambita and San Cristobal, areas where several families have been affected. In two regions of Haiti, flooding has affected at least 435 people, displacing people, destroying crops and animals. Coordinating teams of CONASPEH, the Spiritual Council of Churches in Haiti, are assessing the situation and preparing to respond. Week of Compassion is grateful for the opportunity to partner with both CONASPEH and the DEC, offering support through Global Ministries to both responses.
While we all remain concerned about what may happen as Irene makes landfall, we continue to pray and prepare. We are counting on your Courageous Compassion and partnership should needs arise. Thank you for being part of this ministry, and for making your compassion a real, tangible force in the midst of fear and uncertainty.