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Responding to Hurricane Florence


Press Release

September 27, 2018

Episcopal Relief & Development Continues to Respond After Hurricane Florence

Episcopal Relief & Development is continuing its support of the impacted Episcopal dioceses in North Carolina and South Carolina in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. 

In partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina, Episcopal Relief & Development is offering critical emergency aid including food, water, gas cards, cleaning supplies and other essentials.

Episcopal Relief & Development is also working with the Episcopal Church in South Carolina to provide rent and utility assistance to those affected, in addition to partnering with local health and social service organizations to cover costs associated with medical care programs and supplies.

With rising floodwaters in the Carolinas, local communities are still dealing with anticipated flooding of up to 10 feet on the South Carolina coast. Residents are also concerned about the possibility of contaminated water due to pollution and toxins. In preparation, more shelters have opened in South Carolina as residents are urged to evacuate and the state’s Emergency Management Division is distributing sandbags throughout the local counties. The current death toll has risen to 48.  

Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster team is in regular contact with church partners in the impacted regions. In addition, the organization is supporting the work of the affected dioceses and the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry, a joint ministry of the Episcopal dioceses of East Carolina and North Carolina, to provide essentials such as food, water and clothing to migrant and seasonal farmworkers in two counties of eastern North Carolina.

“Our prayers go out to the residents of North and South Carolina dealing with the impact of Hurricane Florence,” said Katie Mears, Senior Director for Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program. “We remain committed to providing support and resources to our Episcopal Church partners as they continue to help people in their communities recover.”

Please continue to pray for those impacted by Hurricane Florence. Donations to the Hurricane Relief Fund will help Episcopal Relief & Development respond to this crisis.

For over 75 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working together with supporters and partners for lasting change around the world. Each year the organization facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives for more than 3 million people struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease. Inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, Episcopal Relief & Development leverages the expertise and resources of Anglican and other partners to deliver measurable and sustainable change in three signature program areas: Women, Children and Climate.



Web Statement

September 21, 2018

Providing Ongoing Assistance in the Wake of Hurricane Florence

Episcopal Relief & Development continues to provide support and emergency assistance following the devastation of Hurricane Florence, as diocesan partners assess damage and respond to critical needs in impacted communities.

Last week, Florence battered the North Carolina coast and has killed at least 36 people according to authorities. Across the Carolinas, survivors struggled with the aftermath of the storm that brought record-breaking rainfall, dangerous flooding and extensive damage to tens of thousands of properties. More than 8,000 residents remain in shelters. Many residents are waiting until the floodwaters recede from their homes, and others cannot get to their neighborhoods due to road closures. Farmers were hit particularly hard and many have suffered losses.

Currently, the US Disaster team is working closely with the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina, the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina and the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry to provide urgent assistance to migrant and seasonal farmworkers including water, food, cleaning supplies, hygiene kits, clothing and transportation to safe locations in two counties in eastern North Carolina.

Additionally, Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Diocese of East Carolina as its parishes and deaneries respond to the needs of local communities by providing critical support such as food, water, gas cards, cleaning supplies as well as day care programs.

“One of the strengths of our Episcopal Church network is the ability to identify the greatest needs and leverage existing relationships and resources to serve and care for vulnerable communities after a crisis,” said Katie Mears, Senior Director for Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program.  “Please continue to pray for the individuals and families impacted by this devastating storm.”

Church bulletin inserts can be found here. The bishops from impacted dioceses in the Carolinas shared a joint statement on the challenges of sending donated goods and unaffiliated volunteers from outside the region at this time.

Please continue to pray for those impacted by Hurricane Florence. Donations to the Hurricane Relief Fund will help Episcopal Relief & Development respond to this crisis.

For over 75 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working together with supporters and partners for lasting change around the world. Each year the organization facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives for more than 3 million people struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease. Inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, Episcopal Relief & Development leverages the expertise and resources of Anglican and other partners to deliver measurable and sustainable change in three signature program areas: Women, Children and Climate.


 

Press Release

September 17, 2018

Episcopal Relief & Development Responds to Deadly Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence

Episcopal Relief & Development is working with partners to provide critical support for the most vulnerable communities affected by Hurricane Florence.

Through a partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina, the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina and the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry, the organization is providing emergency assistance to migrant and seasonal farmworkers including water, food, cleaning supplies, hygiene kits, clothing and transportation to safe locations in two counties in eastern North Carolina.

On Friday, September 14, Hurricane Florence made landfall in Wilmington, North Carolina. The system, which has been downgraded to a tropical depression, has killed at least 16 people in storm-related incidents. Hundreds have been rescued from flooded areas and thousands are in shelters.

More than 30 inches of rain fell in parts of North Carolina, surpassing the previous record set during Hurricane Floyd in 1999. As farm fields and riverside neighborhoods fill up with water, residents are bracing for an onslaught of major flooding over the next few days. State officials believe tens of thousands of homes have been damaged so far, with days of challenges on the horizon.

“Hurricane Florence is expected to have a catastrophic effect on the lives of thousands of North Carolinians. Migrant and seasonal farmworkers in rural areas are particularly at risk,” said Lariza Garzón, Executive Director of the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry.

Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with this joint ministry of the dioceses of East Carolina and North Carolina to provide critical emergency support for this particularly vulnerable population. H2A workers (migrant workers from abroad who are working in agriculture through the H2A Visa Program) are especially vulnerable since they depend on their employers for housing and transportation, and in many cases, live in isolated basic housing conditions. The ministry will be focusing its support on 64 camps in two counties that its leaders believe are particularly vulnerable.

“I am proud of the work that our church partners are engaged in with seasonal farmworkers,” said Katie Mears, Senior Director for Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program. “They are uniquely positioned to help to address the needs of this isolated and remote community.”

Additional response activities include:

  • Holding ongoing coordination calls with leaders from affected dioceses to help them assess needs and mobilize to respond to the most vulnerable communities
  • Leading online trainings in both English and Spanish to prepare congregational leaders to assess their communities’ needs and effectively respond
  • Equipping many impacted dioceses with AlertMedia, a cloud-based mass messaging system that was successfully used after Hurricane Harvey and Irma to enable the dioceses to communicate with staff and congregational leaders to share information and assess needs

“The waters are still rising and assessments are limited due to safety concerns,” continued Mears. “We will continue working together with church partners to serve and care for affected communities in the weeks and months ahead.”

Church bulletin inserts can be found here. The bishops from impacted dioceses in the Carolinas shared a joint statement on the challenges of sending donated goods and unaffiliated volunteers from outside the region.

Please continue to pray for those impacted by Hurricane Florence. Donations to the Hurricane Relief Fund will help Episcopal Relief & Development respond to this crisis.

For over 75 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working together with supporters and partners for lasting change around the world. Each year the organization facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives for more than 3 million people struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease. Inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, Episcopal Relief & Development leverages the expertise and resources of Anglican and other partners to deliver measurable and sustainable change in three signature program areas: Women, Children and Climate.


Web Statement

September 14, 2018

Responding As Hurricane Florence Makes Landfall

Episcopal Relief & Development continues to support dioceses located in the path of Hurricane Florence as they mobilize to respond to the needs of affected communities.

Florence, battering the North Carolina coast with blinding rain and fierce winds, made landfall on Friday morning and is expected to bring “life-threatening storm surge and rainfall” according to the National Hurricane Center. Approximately 200 people were rescued from flooded homes overnight. More than 400,000 people have lost power in the state. According to local authorities, more than 4,500 people have checked into shelters in South Carolina, and 126 shelters have been opened in North Carolina for about 12,000 people.

Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with dioceses in the impacted area to equip congregational and diocesan leadership with critical tools and resources as they prepare to serve the most vulnerable communities impacted by the storm. Activities include:

  • Holding daily coordination calls with leaders and staff from impacted dioceses to assist them in actively preparing for the possibility of a significant response to Florence
  • Leading online trainings in both English and Spanish to prepare clergy to swiftly assess their communities’ immediate needs and effectively respond
  • Partnering with many impacted dioceses to activate AlertMedia, a cloud-based mass messaging system that was successfully used after Hurricane Harvey and Irma to enable the dioceses to communicate with staff and congregational leaders to share information and assess needs.

“We are heartened to see our church partners join together as they prepare to meet urgent needs in these early days,” said Katie Mears, Senior Director for Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program.

Many of the communities in Florence’s path were impacted by Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and the recovery process from that storm continues. One of the lessons from Matthew was the devastating impact that these storms can have on particularly vulnerable communities where at-risk populations can lose not only their homes but their sources of income as well. Episcopal Relief & Development is collaborating with affected dioceses in East Carolina and North Carolina as they begin planning how to help those most in need. Together, the US Disaster team and diocesan leaders are assessing how to support these communities with critical supplies including food and clean water.

Please continue to pray for those impacted by Hurricane Florence. Donations to the Hurricane Relief Fund will help Episcopal Relief & Development respond to this crisis. Church bulletin inserts can be found here.

For over 75 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working together with supporters and partners for lasting change around the world. Each year the organization facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives for more than 3 million people struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease. Inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, Episcopal Relief & Development leverages the expertise and resources of Anglican and other partners to deliver measurable and sustainable change in three signature program areas: Women, Children and Climate.


Web Statement

Supporting Dioceses Preparing for Hurricane Florence

September 11, 2018

Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting approximately eleven dioceses located in the path of Hurricane Florence as they prepare to respond to the needs of impacted communities.

Hurricane Florence, called “extremely dangerous” by the National Hurricane Center, is speeding toward the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, prompting evacuation orders for more than 1.5 million people ahead of the storm. On Sunday, Florence became a hurricane with sustained winds of at least 74-mph. It continued its path toward the East Coast overnight Monday, jumping to a very powerful Category 4 storm status and 140-mph winds. The hurricane is predicted to gain strength to near Category 5 intensity on Tuesday and make landfall early Friday.

The National Hurricane Center is warning of a very dangerous double threat including a hurricane on the coast and major inland flooding from the heavy rain.

Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting the affected dioceses in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Georgia on potential response efforts. The US Disaster team has begun conducting daily coordination calls to assist dioceses located in the path of the hurricane as they prepare and plan next steps. The team is training dioceses to use AlertMedia, a cloud-based disaster communications tool that enables staff and congregational leaders to share assessment information with diocesan leadership. AlertMedia sends notifications through SMS, phone calls, and emails to help ensure that everyone receives the message, and they can respond quickly and easily.  

“Leaders throughout this region have extensive experience preparing for and responding to disasters, and have powerful networks of relationships and ministries in their communities,” said Katie Mears, Senior Director of Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program. “This wealth of experience and deep community connections will allow diocesan leaders to effectively serve those most in need.”

Please pray for those impacted by Hurricane Florence. Donations to the Hurricane Relief Fund will help Episcopal Relief & Development respond to this crisis. Church bulletins inserts can be found here

For over 75 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working together with supporters and partners for lasting change around the world. Each year the organization facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives for more than 3 million people struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease. Inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, Episcopal Relief & Development leverages the expertise and resources of Anglican and other partners to deliver measurable and sustainable change in three signature program areas: Women, Children and Climate.

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