Disaster Response: Latest News

Updated Sept. 12, 2017

Disaster Response News Update

How can we in New England help? 

Learn more about how to help by reading Top four worst, and best, ways to help after a disaster

If you are a certified ERT:

No calls for ERTs have come in for Hurricane Irma response yet. Please direct your volunteer efforts to other disaster relief and ongoing recovery efforts.

The Rio Texas and Texas conferences have both now asked for help from ERTs outside their jurisdiction to assist with Hurricane Harvey relief. Current needs include removal of debris and downed trees, roof tarping and requires extensive physical labor. Many homes have water damage from damaged windows and roofs. 

They will not accept teams without several trained, badged ERTs who can orient the others. Both conferences may not require ALL members of an ERT team to be badged, so check updates on their websites (links above). Everyone MUST have a background check – sometimes required through the conference accepting volunteers, sometimes through your home conference. Contact Barbara Burnside, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator for more information. 

From United Methodist News Service:
Churches outside Florida feel effects of Irma 
MACON, Ga. (UMNS) — While United Methodists across Florida began to take stock as Hurricane Irma left the state, church members in Georgia and South Carolina were dealing with flash flooding, downed trees and power outages as the storm headed north. And some reports have emerged from Hispanic-Latino churches in the Caribbean, where Irma began. Linda Bloom has the story. 
Read story 

United Methodists helping one bucket at a time 
BALDWIN, La. (UMNS) — People hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma need time to “get their arms” around the most pressing needs, but United Methodists around the connection can start helping by donating to the United Methodist Committee on Relief, collecting and assembling flood buckets and earnestly praying. Kathy L. Gilbert reports. 
Read story

In the news:

USA Today: "Faith groups provide the bulk of disaster recovery, in coordination with FEMA"

Read Neal Bowes’ blog post about empowering youth to contribute to hurricane relief
Bowes is Director of Youth Ministry at Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church in Ridgefield, CT. He also works through the New York Annual Conference to train and support volunteer youth workers in local churches.
Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence shares this story from The Atlantic magazine about "The link between natural disasters and domestic abuse."

From Barbara Burnside, New England Conference Disaster Response & Mission Coordinator:

We are in prayer, responding and training to help respond to those in need as they recover from Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey.

PLEASE DO NOT send any kind of material donations to victims of Hurricane Harvey (read about the best and worst ways to respond). Most unrequested material donations after a disaster end up in a landfill because there was nowhere to store them and no one to distribute them.

Instead, donate to United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)'s US Disaster Response where 100% of your donation goes to help survivors recover. Put "Disaster Response Advance #901670" in the check’s memo or click the link to donate online. You can drop it in your church’s offering plate or send it directly to UMCOR.

Preparations are being made to meet the needs of all individuals. PLEASE DO NOT self-deploy as a volunteer. We will share all official updates about the need for and readiness to accept volunteers as they are received.

ATTENTION: BEGINNING JAN. 1, 2018 UMCOR DEPOTS WILL ACCEPT ONLY HYGIENE, SCHOOL AND CLEANING KITS. If you have any of the other kits you have prepared, please make sure you notify Barbara Burnside for instructions, as they need to reach Sager Brown Depot in Louisiana by Dec. 31, 2017.

Kits can sent directly to Sager Brown or delivered to a conference drop-off location or to any UMCOR affiliate warehouse near you. Click the link to find information about UMCOR depot affiliate locations.

Southeastern U.S.

Louisiana needs flood-recovery volunteers 
United Methodists observing the first anniversary of devastating floods in Louisiana are looking for more volunteer teams to help the most vulnerable of the storm’s survivors get back on their feet.

Learn more


Teams must have a Team Leader with experience in Haiti; it is highly recommended that at least 50 percent of each team have Haiti experience as well. This is based on assessments EgliseMéthodiste d’Haiti (EMH) has been doing with help from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).

Ongoing Disaster Relief efforts in the Northeast Jurisdiction of the UMC and beyond

Disaster Relief Opportunities

Oct. 8-22, 2017
Parceles, Costa Rica

Short-term missionaries wanted. The $1,400 cost includes flight, meals, accommodations and project money; volunteers can also go for just one week, but cost is the same and the group will leave from Manchester, NH. The team leader is looking for 8 more people to join their team for another amazing opportunity to see God's grace among the people of Costa Rica and each other. For more information, please contact Tim Hickey at (603) 731-3517 or Timberlandranch@aol.com

Oct. 22-28, 2017
Mission Trip to Washington, N.C.

To help clean-up and repair after Hurricane Matthew. Cost is $200 and covers food, housing and Insurance. Travel: usually we travel together and the people in each vehicle split the travel cost. If you choose to fly it will be at your cost. Deadline to register is Sept. 16. Please register as soon as possible. For more information, contact Pastor Roy Richardson at revrichardson@juno.com or (401) 378-8776, cell; (860) 684-2468, office. A team meeting will be planned and as you register you will be notified. Registration form

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!