Domestic Disaster Response & Preparedness
Photo: Craig Thompson, Disciple Design
Earthquakes, Puerto Rico
2019 Wildfires, California
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
Week of Compassion is in conversation with local churches and partners in these areas where disasters are ongoing or have recently occurred. As needs are emerging, we are assessing potential avenues for response.
Flooding, Oregon and Washington
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.
Event Summary: After a very rapid development in the Gulf of Mexico, Imelda made landfall in southeast Texas as a Tropical Storm on Sept. 17. It lingered over the region for several days, dropping record-breaking amounts of rain--over 40 inches in some areas. Communities from the greater Houston area east to the Louisiana border saw catastrophic flooding. As of this writing, approximately two dozen Disciples households had reported damage. Some churches are reporting minor damage, but none are known to have flooded at this time. As of November 25, over 10,500 households had been approved for Individual Assistance from FEMA, and many more households were affected but did not qualify for federal assistance.
Event Summary: After passing over the USVI and Puerto Rico with limited damage, Hurricane Dorian strengthened to a Category 5 storm and stalled over the northern islands of The Bahamas in early September 2019. Damage to the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco is incredibly severe. The storm then tracked the eastern coast of Florida, remaining a short distance offshore, and causing some damage due to strong winds and storm surge. That track continued along the coast of Georgia and the Carolinas, with the storm closer to shore. After making landfall near Cape Hatteras, NC, the storm continued up the Atlantic. The storm made landfall again in Nova Scotia on on Sept. 7. Structural damage in the U.S. and Canada was less severe than predicted, though many communities experienced extended power outages.
Event Summary: 21 tornadoes struck Ohio on Memorial Day, 2019, including 11 in the greater Dayton area. As of Aug. 16, more than 4,000 people from the Dayton area had applied for federal assistance through FEMA.
In May, 2019 a series of tornadoes wrought damage across Missouri, including an EF3 tornado in Jefferson City, which caused severe damage at Community Christian Church, and an EF1 tornado in Eldon. Also among the many damaged buildings in Jefferson City were many rental and affordable housing properties.
Throughout the spring and summer of 2019, several bouts of rapid snowmelt and heavy rain caused multiple and recurring flood events across Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, and elsewhere in the Midwest. Thousands of buildings, homes, and farms were inundated with water, ice, and mud.