After a preliminary assessment and site visit, some developing and ongoing needs are coming to light. The conference disaster response coordinator, C. J. Caufield, accompanied several of the conference staff (list names however it seems best) as they visited Jefferson Street UMC in Natchez, Washington United Methodist Church, and Camp Wesley Pines to check in.
In Mississippi, the Gulf Coast was impacted by Gustav and most folks are relieved that they did not have to relive the impact of Katrina. However, although there are not as many impacted, losses exist. An ERT was requested by the Seashore District to help with clean-up at Gulfside Assembly and will be deployed Friday. Rev. Robert McCoy is serving as the disaster volunteer coordinator.
The parsonage of the Washington UMC, served by Rev. Ron Smith, was damaged. Many shingles were torn off the roof exposing the bare roof and allowing significant water to enter. Currently, the damage is limited to one room with some seepage into another. They were expecting power back on Wednesday evening.
Further to the northwest, there is more significant impact. Southwest Mississippi has continuing power outages, lots of water, and some merging needs. We will keep those updated and you can also get information from the call center at the conference office (info).
We are also in regular contact with our church family in Louisiana to monitor their developing needs. They are still working on assessments.
We are also in regular contact with our partner denominations and organizations to provide quick and practical resources where and when they are needed. This is working fairly well so far.
How you can help:
-Donate $ (details)
-Share your resources: Brenda Hiatt is the one keeping track of resources and needs and developing the links to fill those requests.
-Make flood buckets or other relief kits (http://new.gbgm umc.org/umcor/getconnected/supplies/)
-Continue preparedness in your home and church!
-Discuss ways in which your church would like to be involved in this and future disasters and share that with your district coordinator.
Please monitor the website and call the call center for updates of needs.