Responding to June 2016 flooding in West Virginia

Photo by United Methodist News Service

July 05, 2016

The historic flooding in West Virginia has devastated a region of our nation that is home to many families that were already economically vulnerable and now face a daunting long-term recovery effort. We pray for those who have lost loved ones and homes, as well as those who are already at work to help them, such as the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) which is resourcing the West Virginia Annual Conference, local churches and partners. 

As news of the devastation in West Virginia was being reported, members of the New England Conference were asking, “What can we do?” Following UMCOR’s recommendations and United Methodist disaster response protocols we will not deploy Early Response Teams (ERTs) or send supplies until they are requested by the West Virginia Annual Conference.

Here is UMCOR’s list of what you can do to help: 

  • Hold the survivors and those still in harm’s way in your prayers. 

  • PLEASE DO NOT self-deploy or send unrequested material donations. These are already starting to arrive and cause many problems in the disaster area. 

  • Get your church involved in assembling cleaning buckets, health kits, and other relief-supply kits, which can be used in response to this and future disasters.

  • Until volunteers are needed in West Virginia, consider volunteering in other locations that are ready to receive your help (click here for a list of projects). 

  • Give to UMCOR U.S. Disaster Response, Advance #901670. Your gift will allow UMCOR to respond to this and other disasters across the United States.

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 West Virginia Annual Conference, 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 

  • Set up several training events for ERT certification or re-certification. 

  • Encourage churches to assemble cleaning buckets. Please see UMCOR’s list of supplies for buckets and health kits. We have many UMCOR Relief Supply drop-off locations in the New England Conference, but please contact the site prior to delivering buckets/kits to confirm drop-off hours.

  • Encourage our churches and people to be in prayer, not only for the people of West Virginia, but for all who are survivors of disasters – both natural and human made. 

As we prepare for our response, we can be confident that the most important assistance we can provide is our prayer support and our willingness to say, "Here I am, Lord."