Preparing Alabama-West Florida's Response to Haiti Emergency
(First United Methodist Church)

By Amelia Fletcher
January 13, 2010

As reports of the earthquake in Haiti become more complete, there are ways in which Alabama-West Florida can respond now and as the year progresses. 

The quake is believed to be the worst to hit the region in about 200 years, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was followed by two aftershocks, measuring 5.9 and 5.5 on the Richter scale with about 1.8 million people living in the area where the quake was most intense.  The Rev. Sam Dixon, top executive of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, was in Haiti when the earthquake struck, attending a meeting with other staff from the General Board of Global Ministries and annual (regional) conferences.  There have been no communications from Sam so far.  Let's pray it is due to the loss of cell phone towers and land-line communication.

What We Can Do Now
• Pray for the people of Haiti and for all the first responders working now

• Keep current information about the response and recovery in front of your congregation through newsletters, Sunday bulletins or emails.  The UMC response information can be found on the United Methodist Church website, the UMCOR website and the UMVIM website

• Give to the UMCOR advance # 418325 through your church or directly online. "UMCOR has always had a strong presence in Haiti," said Tom Hazelwood of UMCOR's disaster-response staff.  United Methodists have had 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 an UMCOR Haiti field office in 2005. 

• Supplies or donations may be sent directly to Sager Brown

• Consider a UMVIM team for deployment later in the year to help rebuild.  Teams now are not appropriate, but the SEJ-UMVIM website will be updated as news and needs are given to them.

• Consider a Disaster Response Training class

• Consider a team of volunteers to assemble heath kits locally or at the Sager-Brown facility in Louisiana

Please DO NOT plan to send:
• Clothes…instead, have a local yard sale and give the proceeds to the UMCOR advance or to help sponsor a team.
• Untrained volunteers
• Items to Sager Brown that are not on their prescribed list.  When mailing internationally, the buckets or packets must be exactly as specified.

If you have questions or ideas for response, feel free to call Amelia Fletcher or your district disaster coordinator.  District disaster coordinator names, emails, and phone numbers are on the AWF Conference website under Disaster Response & Recovery Ministry.

Website and Contact Information

Amelia Fletcher
AWF Disaster Coordinator
Disaster Response & Recovery Ministry

Glenn Glover
AWF UMVIM Coordinator
(334) 821-7091

UMCOR  giving opportunities:

At Church:  Put your gift in the offering plate on Sunday.
By Mail:   Make your check to UMCOR and mail to:
PO Box 9068,
New York, NY 10087

By Phone:  Call toll-free: (800) 554-8583

Online:  UMCOR.org    advance #418325

Health Kit Contents:

1 hand towel (15" x 25" up to 17" x 27")
1 wash cloth
1 comb (large and sturdy, not pocket-sized)
1 nail file or fingernail clippers (no emery boards or toenail clippers)
1 bath-size bar of soap (3 oz and up)
1 toothbrush (single brush only in original wrapper; no child-sized brushes)
1 large tube of toothpaste (4.5 or larger, expiration date must be 6 months or longer in advance of the date of shipment to Sager Brown)
6 adhesive plastic strip sterile bandages

All items should be placed inside a sealed one-gallon plastic bag. No money, notes, religious or political literature, or other items should be placed in the kits.

UMCOR Sager Brown Depot
P.O Box 850 131 Sager Brown Road
Baldwin, LA 70514-0850
Contact 1-800-814-8765