Domestic Disaster Response & Preparedness
Photo: Craig Thompson, Disciple Design
Earthquakes, Puerto Rico
Tropical Storm Imelda, Texas
Hurricane Dorian, Bahamas and Atlantic Coast
Flooding, Oklahoma and Midwest US
Hurricane Michael, Florida
Hurricane Florence, North Carolina
Carr Fire and Camp Fire, California
Hurricanes Irma & Maria, Puerto Rico
Hurricane Irma, Florida
Hurricane Harvey, Texas
Event Summary: After stalling off the coast of Mississippi, Alabama, and Floriday, Hurricane Sally underwent a period of rapid intensification before making category 2 hurricane near Gulf Shores, AL very early on Sept. 16. The very slow-moving storm battered coastal communities in Alabama and the panhandle of Florida for hours. More than half a million customers were without power as of Sept. 17, even as the storm continued moving across Georgia and South Carolina. Thousands of homes have been damaged from flooding and trees toppled by the winds. Several Disciples congregations in have been directly affected, including damage at church buildings. Federal emergency declarations: EM-3545-AL and EM-3546-FL
How Disciples are Involved:
Local Contacts: Alabama/Northwest Florida Region Disciples
Early Response: Week of Compassion is providing assistance to and through local Disciples congregations, with solidarity grants for affected congregations and members and grants to support congregational relief efforts. Staff are in regular communication with church leaders in the area as well as ecumenical partners through the VOAD network. Additional avenues of response will develop as needs become more clear.
Ongoing Engagement: We will continue to support the efforts of Disciples in the area and will assess possibilities for supporting long-term recovery.
How to Help:
Volunteer: In the early days of response, logistics are not in place and housing is not available for volunteers who are not local; in the coming months, volunteers will be needed for rebuilding. Stay tuned for details about future volunteer opportunities. Interested local volunteers can reach out to Associate Director, Caroline Hamilton-Arnold.
Give to Week of Compassion: Designate “Hurricanes”
Pray: Continue to pray for those affected by the hurricane and for our Week of Compassion partners.
Advocate: Areas of important advocacy will include support for folks who were already economically unstable because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Event Summary: Hurricane Laura made landfall as a strong category 4 hurricane in Southwest Louisiana (about 35 miles from the Louisiana/Texas border) very early on August 27. The storm maintained hurricane strength as it moved inland through Louisiana. Roughly half a million customers were without power after the storm, with more than 60,000 still without power two weeks later. Thousands of homes sustained damage from the winds and rain. Several Disciples congregations in Southeast and central Louisiana were directly affected, including damage at church buildings and at members' homes. Federal disaster declaration: DR-4559-LA
Event Summary: On August 10, a 40 mile wide derecho blew across the upper Midwest; the effects were especially devastating across a large portion of Iowa. During the powerful straight-line windstorm, the winds at times exceeded 100 miles per hour. An estimated 10 million acres of corn and soybean crops were destroyed or heavily damaged. Barns, silos, grain bins, and houses were crushed across many counties. At one point over 400,0000 people were without electric power, and restoration in some areas was expected to take weeks. Among the hardest hit communities, were refugees in Cedar Rapids. At least 10 Disciples congregations were directly affected, with damage to their church buildings, among their members' homes, or both. Federal disaster declaration: DR-4557-IA
Event Summary: An incredibly active wildfire season across the western U.S. has included fires of historic size and severity, especially in California and Oregon. In addition to burning millions of acres and thousands of homes, these fires have created hazardous air quality across the region and into western Canada. Disciples across multiple states have had to evacuate, and several households have confirmed damage to their homes.
Federal disaster declaration: DR-4558-CA; Federal emergency declaration: EM-3542-OR
Event Summary: Overnight between March 2 and 3, a series of tornadoes moved through Nashville and communities to the east. 25 people died in the storms, and several hundred people were injured. As of March 10, several hundred homes were confirmed damaged or destroyed, and damage assessments continue. Federal disaster declaration: DR4476
Another outbreak on April 12 and 13 caused extensive damage in Chattanooga and the surrounding areas. Response was complicated by restrictions due to COVID-19. Federal disaster declaration: DR4541
Event Summary: From late December 2019 through January 2020, the southwest part of Puerto Rico experienced a series of earthquakes of varying strength and severity. Among the most damaging were a 4.7 quake on Dec. 28, a 6.4 shock on Jan. 7, and a 5.2 quake on Jan. 15, with many, smaller tremors between. The quakes damaged hundreds of structures, including several schools, and thousands of people evacuated their homes, uncertain of the safety of the buildings (roughly 6,000 individuals were in official and unofficial shelters/encampments as of Jan 21). The tremors damaged a power plant and portions of the electrical grid, causing power outages--some prolonged--across much of the island. Given the continued aftershocks and the recent trauma of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, emotional, psychological, and spiritual health are of great concern.
Event Summary: The 2019 wildfire season has, as of early November, already been active. While the multiple incidents so far have been less destructive to homes than those of previous years, they have necessitated widespread evacuations and have damaged or destroyed over 700 structures. Additionally, utility companies have enacted fire prevention measures across the state, including prolonged blackouts during high fire danger conditions. The Kincaide fire in Sonoma County near Geyserville required the evacuation of areas around First Christian Church; thankfully the church did not sustain damage.