UMCOR / News Room / News & Features / Archives 2006 / 20060229

The Story Behind the Story: United Methodist Committee on Relief Receives Page One Coverage

February 29, 2006

UMCOR was a source for a Washington Post story on Monday Feb. 27, 2006. Entitled "Two-Thirds of Katrina Donations Exhausted," the page-one story calls attention to the distinctions between roles of first responders like the Red Cross and recovery responders like UMCOR.

The story says that $69.6 million dollars in cash and supplies have been donated to UMCOR and that 20.3% of these gifts have been used to date for Katrina relief. In fact, with over $62 million in cash donations and $7.8 million in emergency supplies, UMCOR is providing a robust program of both immediate relief and extended rehabilitation. All cash gifts are being used in a comprehensive rebuilding program expected to last until at least 2010.

Download the PDF with the full "story behind the story" as a handout in your church this Sunday. [Download here]

And join UMCOR in thanking God for the generosity of United Methodists whose gifts will allow UMCOR to make a comprehensive and full response in the region affected by severe hurricanes last year.

Recovery responders usually do their work in the recovery phase of a disaster. Some, like UMCOR, also use funds for immediate relief. By the end of 2005, as reported in February 2006, UMCOR had received over $62 million in cash gifts. Here's the "story behind the story."

Big Disasters Have Three Response Phases

The recovery phase is the third of three phases in a disaster. In our experience the recovery phase occurs over a timeframe that is ten times longer than the second phase of relief. The relief phase is ten times longer than the emergency phase, those days immediately following the disaster.

In the estimate shown in the table below, the recovery phase of Hurricane Katrina will last at least until the year 2012.

To reconstruct communities and restore individual lives after a disaster the magnitude of hurricanes Katrina and Rita is a massive effort. It takes money, time, and determination.



Estimated Number of Days for Hurricane Katrina

UMCOR Activity

1.- Emergency

21 days (Aug. 29 to Sept. 19, 2005)

Provided emergency grants to assist annual conferences in initial response

2.- Relief

210 days (Sept. 20, 2005, to April 17, 2006)

Shipped $7.6 million in relief supplies. Provided mentors to set up storm recovery centers; fielded thousands of volunteers who mucked out, gutted out, and assisted annual conferences in their relief ministries

3.- Recovery

2,100 days April 18, 2006, to January 2012

Rebuilding individual lives and communities. Continuing to muck out, gut, and rehabilitate homes; providing skilled construction managers, engineers, and workers who can connect families to services they need such as medical help, employment, child care, help with bills, housing and a host of other solutions; setting up material resource supply stations; training volunteers to assist survivors and give them the help to make and sustain their own recovery plans


Thank God for Generous Gifts!

UMCOR continues to thank God for the generosity of United Methodists that will enable the agency to accompany vulnerable survivors for at least the next four years-- until 2010. Continued giving will allow a comprehensive response for the full number of years estimated to have a complete recovery in the affected regions.

"That Team Changed My Entire Thinking"

Marva L. Mitchell is the new director of the Uptown Recovery Station in New Orleans, operated by UMCOR partner the Louisiana Annual Conference and supported by gifts to UMCOR. But before she was a director, she was a "client." One day recently, all suited up in a hazard suit and mask, Marva was clearing up the debris of her destroyed home. She felt dispirited, her motivation gone. A team of volunteers pulled up and offered to help with the mucking out. "I felt inspired," she said. "That team changed my entire thinking about what I would do." Marva is now deep in the details of making sure clients who need help can have easy access to the offices where caring workers will be available. She looks forward to connecting with people in the Uptown neighborhood who need services and a helping, humanitarian hand.

Your Gifts Continue to Matter

Your cash donations will allow UMCOR to make a comprehensive and full response in the region affected by these severe hurricanes. Please pray for our sisters and brothers in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and in those regions that to this day host evacuees. And consider a generous gift to UMCOR Advance #982523, Hurricanes 2005. Mail to UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087.