Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
updates & responses to recent storms
Hurricane Ian + Hurricane Fiona + Typhoon Noru
Mid-afternoon Wednesday, September 28, HURRICANE IAN made landfall on the central gulf coast of Florida, as a category 4 hurricane, and one of the strongest in the state’s history.
While now at Tropical Storm status, Ian has continued to move across the width of Florida, and is expected to move into the Atlantic Ocean, before making a likely second landfall in the southern Atlantic coast over the next few days.
The damage in Florida is simply catastrophic, and the loss of life is yet unknown. Damage to roads, buildings, bridges, and power and water utility infrastructure is extensive. Storm surges reached 7 - 10 feet in many areas, and 2.5 million power outages have been reported, with some areas could be unserviceable for several days. Local government, service agencies, and the National Guard are in full response for search, rescue, and recovery.
Week of Compassion is receiving updates from Regional staff, local church pastors, and ecumenical partners to assess immediate needs and responses. So far, we know of four Disciples churches affected (from minor flooding to severe building and roof damage), as well as numerous Disciples households. In the coming days, we anticipate many more reports of damage and of Disciples providing care for their neighbors.
Week of Compassion is grateful to do this work on behalf of the church, alongside denominational colleagues at Church Extension and Pension Fund. We join the whole Disciples church, steadily praying for all impacted by this storm, and those yet to come.
As all eyes remain on the path of Tropical Storm Ian, Week of Compassion
is also attending to the ongoing responses to Hurricane Fiona and Typhoon Noru.
HURRICANE FIONA - PUERTO RICO
Building on relationships with partners and local churches that developed after Hurricanes Irma and Maria that decimated Puerto Rico in 2017, Week of Compassion is responding to needs in the wake of Hurricane Fiona. The storm had significant impacts across every municipality, including damage to power and water systems - as of Thursday afternoon nearly 20% of the island was still without power and 8% without water. Leaning on the relationships with local Disciples and ecumenical partners, we are again making water filters available. These simple two-bucket filter systems by Uzima Water Filters make it possible to gather water from local sources and develop it into potable water, safe for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
Week of Compassion remains in close touch with Iglesia Cristiana (Discipulos de Cristo), as they coordinate with more than 50 Disciples churches who are active in providing assistance to communities (hot meals, water and water filters, cleanup, etc.). We will continue to respond through the IC(DC)PR and local partners as there is need. Since last week’s storm, Week of Compassion has provided over $100k to Puerto Rico (in cash grants and provision of water filters) to support these churches, as they assist the affected households in their congregations and communities.
Bilingual volunteers needed! Connect Hurricane Fiona survivors with cleanup assistance!
Week of Compassion is seeking volunteers to work remotely with our partner, Crisis Cleanup, to help staff a call center. Volunteers will receive calls from survivors through a web-based platform and enter their needs on an interactive map used to coordinate volunteer cleanup teams. Volunteers need to be conversational in English and Spanish and have access to a computer with internet.
HURRICANE FIONA - NOVA SCOTIA & NEWFOUNDLAND
After Hurricane Fiona tracked further north last week, damage from the storm is widespread across five provinces in Eastern Canada, with tens of thousands still without power as of Thursday afternoon. The most severe impact has been in Newfoundland, with damage to critical infrastructure, as well as to homes and businesses . West Gore Disciple Church (Nova Scotia) is planning to help neighbors replace food lost due to the lack of power. Week of Compassion is in contact with Regional leadership, working with them to identify potential partners for response in Newfoundland.
As many watch the storms near us, halfway around the world, typhoon season is impacting many in the Pacific. On Sunday September 25, Super Typhoon Noru made landfall on the eastern shore of Manila, capital city of the Philippines, and made its way toward the main island. Many parts of the Philippines were already impacted by a super typhoon that hit the area late last year in December when Typhoon Rai, a category 5, caused major damage.
As the current Typhoon Noru approached, its peak winds increased from 60 to 160 mph in just 24 hours, transforming it from a tropical storm to the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. This leap was among the fastest 24-hour intensification rates on record for any tropical cyclone. Since Noru landed, and then moved further to make landfall again in Vietnam on Tuesday, there have been reports of several deaths, and extensive property damage.
Week of Compassion is monitoring the path of the storm and is in touch with partners in the affected areas. Together, partners are assessing the needs and best responses once access is possible.
Gifts to Week of Compassion - designated ‘international emergency’ -
go 100% to respond to typhoon-affected communities in the Philippines and Vietnam.
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