Disaster Response: Latest News

Updated May 3, 2018

How can we in New England help? 

Find a list of drop-off sites: http://www.neumc.org/umcorreliefsupplydropofflocations

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

ERT and VIM Teams needed for hurricane response

Find teams seeking volunteers

Puerto Rico

UMCOR is working with Methodist Church of Puerto Rico on hurricane recovery - Those volunteer teams interested in supporting Puerto Rico’s homeowners should continue to register through the UMCOR portal, which recently has posted updated guidelines for serving Volunteer Guidelines

See updates on Puerto Rico as of April 2018


The Florida Annual Conference reports that they have over 2.5 million FEMA registrations, and the Conference is focusing on underserved rural areas, and reports that a particularly vulnerable population is migrant workers.  All volunteers will be accepted, regardless of ERT training (untrained volunteers may be asked to handle donations management, take calls or do other office work). Individuals and teams are encouraged to register and should expect to be deployed in the southern part of the state.  John Chickering took a group of volunteers to the Keys in January when Florida was just starting to accept teams in that area.


The Texas Annual Conference (Houston and north Gulf Coast) asks that volunteers should be over age 18, Safe Sanctuaries certified, and at least one member of the team should be ERT trained.
Rio Texas
The Rio Texas Conference (Rockport & south Gulf Coast area) are taking ERTs. There are two different registration

links, so make sure you use the right one! The conference has hired a recovery director, construction coordinators and 10 case managers and three supervisors, and have begun to accept reservations for long-term recovery teams. They set up two permanent villages to house volunteers.  Contact Eugene Hileman (aehileman@riotexas.org), if you can help with this ministry.

One of our new ERTs, Paula Fletcher of South Middleborough UMC in MA has been serving in near Sinton, TX since the end of March as a long-term volunteer and stresses the volume of work yet to be done.  She is seen here with a group representing Montana, Texas and Massachusetts that replaced a floor in a home that was down to studs after the hurricane.  She sent several other photos of the work yet to be done.  She says,  “The mountains of treasures-turned-to-trash by Hurricane Harvey is shocking.”


The Louisiana Conference is mostly finished with muck-outs from Hurricane Harvey and is still working with 17 long-term recovery groups on the 2016 flood damage, but with no federal disaster declaration, they are particularly dependent on volunteers and donations.

California Wildfires
The Cal-Pac conference disaster response coordinator (DRC) reports that in the north of their conference, they still are doing mud out 3 days a week.  All of Ventura county, which has most of the burned-out homes, is still waiting for soil abatement and the required structural engineering. They have team shelter churches ready to go, but can't bring folks in until the county does its part.  They are feeling a little discouraged, but recognize that during a disaster, things move slower than anyone would like; sometimes for good reasons, sometimes because of unforeseen complications or bureaucracies inexperienced in disaster response.  So please pray for them!

It is not always easy to wait, but it takes time to put the right processes in place so that we can meet needs in ways that truly help. Please pray that we will be shown how to be part of God’s provision, in God’s time.


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).

Find other volunteer opportunities

UMCOR relief supplies 

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018 UMCOR depots began only accepting hygiene (health), school, and cleaning kits.   Kits can be 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.

Disaster Relief/Volunteer Opportunities

Camp Aldersgate needs volunteers for roofing project Friday, May 11 & Saturday the 12th: Volunteers started reroofing about half the dining hall roof April 28 (Photo below by volunteer Will Benson) and were rained out on the 29th, so more volunteers are needed to finish replacing the asphalt-shingled roof at Camp Aldersgate in North Scituate, RI in May. Roofing materials are provided for the 6,000 square-foot roofing project – it is not a steep pitch, but volunteers are encouraged to bring tools. The camp will provide overnight accommodations - bring bed (pillows, sleeping bags, or sheets and blankets) & bath linens if you are staying overnight - and meals for the volunteers (donations to underwrite this are appreciated), The camp also has eight RV hook-ups. You don’t need to be a trained ERT or UMVIM team leader or member to volunteer – just comfortable on a roof or ground crew or experienced at putting on an asphalt -shingled roof. If interested, contact Barbara Burnside, Conference Disaster Response & Mission Coordinator, or (978) 682-8055, ext. 135. Please include when you are available and complete and send her this survey.