Since early July the Western Jurisdiction is being inundated with wildfires along with other disasters such as the explosion of illegal fireworks in Ontario, CA, and a haboob (a type of severe dust storm) near Phoenix AZ. Besides wildfires caused by drought in the West, there have been heat advisories nationwide, tropical storms on the East Coast, rainstorms in the Midwest, and a condominium that collapsed, killing more than 100 people in Florida. All of this is on top of a COVID pandemic. Many people have died from these disasters and lives have been forever changed by the damage these disasters have caused. Evacuation shelters become the new homes for anxious people. We witness people helping people. Firefighters are putting their lives in danger to help others and save homes. The Conference Disaster Response Coordinators are monitoring all of these sites to see how we as the church might help the survivors. This vigilance will last for several months. Soon Long-Term Recovery (LTR) teams will be needed for the rebuilding of homes lost in the wildfires. There is still a need for LTR teams to help with the rebuilds and repairs of homes from the wildfires and floods from 2020 and before.
What We Can Do Now:
PRAY for the Survivors, the Firefighters, and First Responders
-Make a Plan: Go to Ready.GOV for assistance
-Make A Kit: Go to Ready.Gov for a list of items for your kit
-Consider specific needs in your household. For example, discuss how people in your network can help each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like operating medical equipment.
-Plan to Evacuate: Wildfires often call for evacuations, do you have a plan on where you, your family, and your pets/animals will go. Learn more here.
-If you are safe, CHECK on your Neighbors. How is your church helping the survivors, firefighters, and others?
VOLUNTEER in a community response activity (feeding, distribute clothing and other personal needs, help with the paperwork they need to complete, or just listen to the survivors' stories). Later on, plan to join a UMVIM Long-Term Recovery Team to help. Please contact Rev. Kenneth Daniell, Mountain Sky Conference UMVIM Coordinator, to learn when it is safe to send teams out to volunteer.
Story and photo submitted by Ronda Cordill, Western Jurisdictional UMVIM Coordinator