Impact and response to tropical storm Irene

8/29/2011

Floods in the wake of Hurricane Irene ravage downtown Brandon Vermont on August 28, 2011. Photo by Jim Germond.

By Alexx Wood.
Updated September 4, 2011

Current news coverage:

Inland flooding prolongs the misery of Irene - UMNS News Story, Sept 1, 2011

Storm Updates and Alerts for Volunteers

Hurricane/tropical storm Irene swept across New England on August 28, after making its way up the coast. Many states and Annual Conferences in the northeast have been greatly impacted by the storm. Here in New England, we are still in the emergency and initial relief phase of the response to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene, and in our conference Vermont appears to have sustained some of the heaviest damage and impact. Trained Emergency Response Teams (ERTs) are currently assisting federal and state agencies in assessment and relief, and the situation in many cities and towns in Vermont and other affected areas remains volatile.

Safety is primary concern

Emergency workers and our conference disaster response team coordinators are asking for individual or self-organized volunteers to refrain from traveling to affected areas to help unless you are part of a trained ERT which has been mobilized and coordinated by our disaster response personnel.

Safety is the primary concern at this stage in the effort. Some areas in Vermont have experienced additional thunderstorms and flash floods as recently as yesterday, and this creates a dangerous situation for volunteers. Many roads are still closed or barely passable even for emergency crews, and in many areas authorities are not allowing passage unless you have a badge as part of a trained Emergency Response Team.

Once the situation stabilizes, additional volunteer help will be needed and invited, and more information will be distributed at this time. Contact information for our volunteer coordinators is listed below - please be in touch with one of these persons to coordinate any volunteer effort or response.

Tremendous Need for Cleaning Buckets

(formerly called “flood buckets”)

One of the most important ways for individuals and churches to participate in the response at this time is to prepare Cleaning Buckets. There is an overwhelming need for these supplies, and local churches or regions can organize and team together to assemble these buckets as soon as possible.

For information on the contents required for the Cleaning Buckets, click here.

Delivering cleaning buckets

Buckets do not need to be shipped to UMCOR at this time - we have a mini-hub in New Hampshire to coordinate storage and/or delivery of the buckets. To coordinate pick-up or drop-off of the buckets that your church or region has prepared, contact Rosemary McNulty in the Conference office, 978-682-7676 ext. 201.

In addition, individuals and churches can contribute donations to UMCOR US Disaster Response #901670. And as always, please continue to pray for all those affected by and responding to the effects of the storm.

Reporting Damage to Church Property

If there is local church building or property damage, you should call Fred C. Church insurance: 800-225-1865, Deanna Bullock # 7242 or Brooke Faris #7230. Next, please report it to your district office (www.neumc.org/districts) and to the Bishop's Office (mcphee@neumc.org).    

Remember that emergency and "first responder" relief efforts will come through your community and state. Relief assistance will also be forthcoming through the federal and state governments. Longer term relief support may be made available through the New England Conference and UMCOR, and should this be necessary more information will be distributed after the storm. The initial reports of damage will be helpful in the assessment of the impact of Hurricane Irene.

Volunteer Needs and Contacts

Currently, the New England Conference is in a time of emergency first response and assessing the impact of Irene.  Vermont in particular has sustained severe and widespread damage, and the recovery, rebuilding and volunteer effort needed will be extensive.

Persons with interest in assisting more directly may be in touch with:

More News

Inland flooding prolongs the misery of Irene - UMNS News Story, Sept 1, 2011

United Methodists assess Irene's toll - UMNS News Story, Aug 29, 2011 

Additional information on the storm’s impact and response will be distributed as it becomes available.