Disaster Response: Latest News

Updated Oct. 26, 2016

Disaster Response News Update


From the end of September through Oct. 9, 2016, Hurricane Matthew left a path of destruction through Haiti, a country still struggling to rebuild after the catastrophic earthquake in 2010, and up the coast of the Southeastern United States, killing over 800 people.  According to Barbara Burnside, Disaster ERT and Mission Coordinator for the New England Conference, volunteers are being asked not to plan missions to Haiti right now.  EgliseMéthodiste d’Haiti is doing assessments with help from United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and when they call for teams, they MUST be led by team leaders who have been to Haiti before.

South Carolina

In the South Carolina Conference, where flooding just a year ago and slowly receding river crests have created uncertainty about what might be left behind, disaster response officials issued a request for Early Response Teams (ERTs) from all jurisdictions to help with relief stage efforts. They require that ERT leaders be ERT trained and badged.  That conference will coordinate housing and food, but self-sufficient teams are also needed in the hardest hit areas.  Matt Brodie is also the South Carolina DRC and team leaders should call (800) 390-4911. 

North Carolina

ERTs also are needed in the North Carolina Conference.  Mold is quickly growing in water-drenched dwellings. To volunteer at any of the sites listed below (ERT or non-ERT opportunities), please call the NC Conference Disaster Call Center (888) 440-9167 to sign up, make plans for accommodations, if needed, and to access the latest contact information. 

NC work sites needing ERT volunteers: 

  • Robeson County
  • Dare County (Frisco, Hatteras, Buxton)
  • Bertie County
  • Harbor District (day teams only)
  • Heritage District (day teams only)

Long-term efforts

Remember that long-term recovery are still being scheduled for Louisiana, Greater New Jersey, New York, and West Virginia. The Western Pennsylvania and Susquehanna conferences are also working on localized efforts and need help.  

Disaster Relief Opportunities

St John's (NH) Mission Team to Southern Louisiana Dec. 3 -10, 2016, Cost - $250, not counting airfare. Contact Keith Launchbury of St, John’s UMC in Dover, NH at Keithlaunchbury@gmail.com or (954) 303-1022.

New England/New York Annual Conference Disaster Relief possibility to West Virginia Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 2016, dependent on volunteer interest.  We will be partnering with the New York Annual Conference, taking up to 12 volunteers and we will be driving. More details after we gauge interest in these dates.  Contact Barbara Burnside, New England Conference Disaster Response & Mission Coordinator at baburnside@neumc.org by Oct 6.

What you can do to help

UMCOR makes sure that conferences account for exactly how the money is spent and that everyone who receives help has been vetted by a case manager, ensuring that only those who truly have unmet needs receive the limited and precious resources.  UMCOR also monitors how much can be spent on staff to manage the relief and recovery efforts. 

Upcoming Trainings

The latest training available can be found on the Upcoming Training Opportunities page of this website.

The New England Conference is blessed to have many trained ERTs, but we have a significant number who need recertification.  In preparation for an invitation from the new disaster areas, we invite you to contact Barbara Burnside to schedule a recertification training and our conference will:

  • Receive inquiries from ERT- trained persons willing to lead teams if requested. Interested and qualified persons may contact Barbara Burnside at baburnside@neumc.org
  • Set up several training events for ERT certification or re-certification.

May God bless you to be a blessing in this time of need and every day!