Hurricane Matthew: Reports from UMCOR and SC

October 11, 2016

The United Methodist Committee on Relief acted quickly in response to the destruction and death caused by Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean, notably in Haiti. When the hurricane hit South Carolina Oct. 8, it caused widespread flooding. Jessica Brodie has an update on the church response in South Carolina and Elliot Wright reports for UMCOR. UMCOR Responds Quickly to Hurricane Damage in Haiti

hurricanematthew680By Elliott Wright

Atlanta, Georgia, October 7, 2016 — The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) acted quickly in response to the destruction and death caused by Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean, notably in Haiti.

The provision of emergency supplies, food, health kits, and other assistance builds on UMCOR’s sustained presence in Haiti, work that has continued since the disastrous earthquake in January 2010. More than 500 deaths in Haiti have been attributed to Hurricane Matthew, with the greatest loss and storm damage in the southern region.

Thomas Kemper, chief executive of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, the parent organization to UMCOR, assured Bishop Gesner Paul, leader of the Methodist Church of Haiti (Eglise Méthodiste d’Haïti (EMH), of both the prayers and the assistance of United Methodists as the island undergoes yet another disaster.

Bishop Paul and other contacts in Haiti reported on October 7 that a full assessment of the damage by Matthew was not yet possible because of the difficulties with communications and transportation.

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South Carolina gets help after the hurricane

3-ert-hurricane-response-orangeburg770x350-730x332By Jessica Brodie Two days after Hurricane Matthew pummeled South Carolina, United Methodist disaster leaders are rolling up their sleeves and getting to work. Their first order of business: assessment and early response. Six of the 12 districts in the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church have seen damage from the storm, several of those with massive flooding, and the conference has opened up its disaster response hotline to begin helping people in need. The hotline is 800-390-4911, or email The Spanish-language hotline is 844-344-2270. “We know we have a lot of work to do,” said Matt Brodie, conference disaster response coordinator. “In terms of a recovery effort, it’s very similar to what we had with the flood except it’s more concentrated—instead of most of the state, it’s mainly I-95 to the coast.” Brodie said it’s not just the coastal districts that have seen damage, though certainly they took the brunt. Some parts of Hilton Head Island are literally gone, he said, and parts of Charleston and Myrtle Beach were devastated. But many inland areas were hard hit, as well. The Florence and Hartsville districts saw major flooding, and downed trees plagued the Orangeburg District. South Carolina United Methodist Volunteers in Mission Early Response Teams have already begun work where able, and trucks of United Methodist Committee on Relief cleaning buckets and health kits are being distributed in affected areas. Brodie said the biggest need right now is for churches in affected areas to house early response teams. Other major needs include financial donations (click here to donate online) and churches to assemble cleaning buckets and health kits. Read entire article