Disaster Response Update 9-5-2008
There were no reported direct-impact deaths and limited injuries!
The post-Gustav assessment is almost complete. Although most of the state was impacted, there are areas of continuing need. Southwest Mississippi had a good impact with tons of fallen trees, debris, and flooding. The Mississippi Gulf Coast also sustained wind and water damage.
Reports from the Seashore District Coordinator, David Cumbest, indicate that while there is impact, most are very gratified that it did not approach the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Debris and flooding issues were evident and most notable in Hancock County. A team from within our conference responded at the request of the Seashore District.
Washington UMC in Brookhaven District, pastored by Rev. Ron Smith, sustained some damage to the roof of the parsonage resulting in leakage that has made one of the bedroom uninhabitable. The house is still intact and livable. Rev. Smith and his family are still there and thankful.
Reports are still coming in about the flooding in Greenville which occurred Wednesday night. It looks like several homes were impacted. Gary Howse, Greenwood District Disaster Relief Coordinator, and District Superintendent Vicki White are working closely with assessment.
Several post-landfall/initial impact tornadoes and winds impacted areas all over the state. Many structures and roadways were impacted throughout the state. Most power is back on, but there are some pockets still without.
We continue to remain vigilant with our coordination of resources and volunteers.
Hanna still tracks up the Eastern coastline of the US. Please continue to pray for those preparing for potential impact and those who will respond. Those living in affected areas certainly are in need of prayer, grace, and generosity.
This is the update from the National Weather Service in Jackson several minutes ago:
Hurricane Ike will be moving west-southwest over the weekend, and approaching the Bahamas by Sunday. It is currently undergoing some shear which is expected to weaken it somewhat in the next 24 hours, but it is forecast to remain a potent hurricane. The official NHC forecast and the computer models have been gradually shifting southwest with the forecast track over the last couple of days. Ike is now forecast to make landfall over south Florida as a major hurricane late Tuesday, but it is important to recognize that there is a large cone of uncertainty at 4-5 days. Several computer models are now taking Ike into the Gulf of Mexico about 5 days from now, but again there is lots of uncertainty at that time range. We will continue to monitor the progress of Ike and provide periodic updates.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
-Provide donations sent to the conference office earmarked for “Mississippi Hurricane Relief.”
-Make flood buckets. We have new Relief Kit coordinators who are Rex and Brenda Hiatt. Any information or questions about flood buckets or kits should go to them: 601-917-7094; firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Develop creative ways for your church to be a mission (e.g. become a donations collection point, distribution center, make flood buckets or other relief kits, volunteer to staff call lines, offer transportation or other resources, etc.) Communicate same to your District Coordinator.
-Stay in close contact with your District Disaster Relief Coordinator.
-Record and send us your stories. There are countless stories of courage, gratitude, resourcefulness, and generosity – to name a few. Please keep of track of them and get them to us!
-Always be prepared. Disaster preparedness saves lives and property.
Thank you for your ministry.