(UMCOR) - United Methodists in Alabama-West Florida are undertaking large-scale recovery programs for those affected by Hurricane Michael with assistance from the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
A $4.6 million UMCOR grant for the Alabama-West Florida Conference will help launch and fund the first two years of a phased four-year recovery program in response to Hurricane Michael.
Scientists at NOAA's National Hurricane Center recently determined that Hurricane Michael had an intensity of 160 mph when it made landfall at the Florida Panhandle last October and upgraded it to a Category 5 hurricane. The last hurricane of such intensity at landfall was Hurricane Andrew, which struck South Florida and Louisiana in 1992.
Since the hurricane struck, AWFC has continued to triage and collect data to determine the unmet needs in the affected areas. Grant funds will enable them to strategically review the list of families who have been denied Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance and begin outreach to those survivors.
The conference aims to provide at least 375 households with disaster case management services and connect them with vital goods and services to help them achieve their individualized recovery goals.
“In the midst of major devastation, the Alabama-West Florida United Methodist Conference was a beacon hope to local communities as its churches served as resource centers for those impacted by the tremendous storm,” said Roland Fernandes, executive director of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). “UMCOR is proud to support their ongoing efforts to bring hope and recovery to those impacted by Hurricane Michael.”
“Since the time Hurricane Michael made landfall the Alabama-West Florida Conference has served those in need along the panhandle of Florida,” said Bishop David Graves. “As we have been saying for months, this will be a long-term effort to which our conference is committed to for years to come. We are grateful to UMCOR for recognizing the extensive need along the coast.”
In December 2018, the conference received a $628,768 grant from UMCOR to allow for three volunteer coordinator sites to be established, support staff to manage these sites, construction costs for those we help and assessments for the next grant.
Hurricane Michael swept across a narrow band of the Florida panhandle on Oct. 12, leaving total destruction in some areas. Six of the 12 counties that are FEMA-eligible are in the Alabama-West Florida Conference, which has received additional support from UMCOR and the United Methodist connection. Alabama-West Florida also will receive a separate $180,000 UMCOR grant for church repair.
About the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)
Founded in 1940, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is the global humanitarian aid and development agency of The United Methodist Church. UMCOR is working in more than 80 countries worldwide, including the United States and its territories. Our mission, grounded in the teachings of Jesus, is to alleviate human suffering—whether caused by war, conflict or natural disaster— with open hearts and minds to all people. UMCOR responds to natural or civil disasters that are interruptions of such magnitude that they overwhelm a community's ability to recover on its own. UMCOR works through programs that address hunger, poverty, sustainable agriculture, international and domestic emergencies, refugee and immigrant concerns, global health issues, and transitional development. Learn more at www.UMCOR.org