UMCOR / News Room / News & Features / Archives 2008 / 0909-UMCOR Responds to Catastrophic Storms

UMCOR Responds to Catastrophic Storms

New York, NY, September 9, 2008—The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is responding to the four successive catastrophic storms that tore through Haiti in less than a month. Hundreds of deaths and extensive flooding have been reported and thousands of homes and livelihoods have been destroyed. In a country with limited resources and widespread poverty, more than 650,000 people are left especially vulnerable because of the storms.

UMCOR Haiti is on the ground responding with targeted direct assistance. Personnel evacuated during the storms and have returned safely. The office in Cap Haitien sustained minimal damage and the staff is working in the North Department of Haiti, providing disaster relief for the short and long term.

Thomas Dwyer, director of operations for UMCOR's non-governmental organization unit, explains the integrated approach to the disaster, "In tandem with immediate relief, we are providing support to assist in rebuilding of peoples' lives. Families will need tools and materials to help repair their homes and children will need school supplies to return to school." Dwyer continues, "UMCOR is prepared and resources are mobilized to help people through this difficult process."

Emergency relief kits and materials will be distributed to displaced people and to orphanages in Cap Haitien. UMCOR Haiti is offering a variety of assistance packages to families including long term access to potable water, cash for work activities to help clean up the affected areas, school kits, cook stove and building materials. UMCOR Haiti is exploring working with the World Food Program and Christian Aid to distribute health and hygiene kits.

In addition to the NGO work, UMCOR is partnering with other organizations through Action by Churches Together (ACT) to address the humanitarian needs this crisis had created.

About UMCOR Haiti

United Methodists have a long-standing relationship with Haiti through the Methodist Church of Haiti. The strong ties between the Methodist Church of Haiti and UMCOR helped facilitate the opening of the UMCOR Haiti field office in 2005. One of the primary goals of UMCOR Haiti is to help the 2004 Hurricane Jeanne's survivors recover.

UMCOR workers have distributed relief supplies consisting of health and school kits from UMCOR Sager Brown to over 13,300 beneficiaries in public schools, local associations and medical centers in various program sites around the Northern District as well as in the areas surrounding Port-au-Prince. Additionally, UMCOR has distributed approximately 380 school and health kits to vulnerable people through a clinic in Berthanie in the community of Cavalion, Southern Haiti.

How to Help

Your generosity is needed in to help the people of Haiti gain stability and rebuild their lives following these devastating storms. Please give to Haiti Emergency, UMCOR Advance #418325 and help UMCOR fully respond to people in Haiti and elsewhere whose lives have been affected by intense storms.

There is shortage of flood buckets, school kits and layette kits. Learn more about how you can assemble and send kits here.