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* * * * * Disaster Response News * * * * *

Interested in disaster response?  Contact us to learn more!

February 3, 2014

Church World Service Asking for School Kits

Church World Service is in need of School Kits, which give children in impoverished schools, refugee camps, or other difficult settings some of the basic tools for learning.

There are enough kits for immediate needs, but they will be running short within a few months.

Click the link below to learn how to assemble a school kit.




December 3, 2013

Terry Tangeman and Mud-Out Trailer Recognized for Flood Recovery Work

The Ohio Conference Disaster Response Team and member Terry Tangeman were recognized in a recent article in the Wapakoneta Daily News for Terry’s work with the mud-out trailer after flooding damaged the one-year-old home of Mercy Unlimited, a Christian non-profit ministry in Wapakoneta. Terry arrived with the trailer’s supply of water pumps, de-humidifiers and power washers to help remove water, mud and debris from the basement and dry the surfaces so rebuilding could begin. Click link below for full article.



November 15, 2013

UCC Typhoon Response Update

The gifts of 1,029 donors have enabled the UCC to raise over $111,300 toward our $250,000 goal in just one week!  This is a UCC first!

Today the UCC is wiring additional funds to our partners on the ground in the Philippines.

Relief supplies are getting distributed!  ACT Alliance partners report:

*  Three trucks carrying 5,000 family food packs, sufficient for one week, arrived in Samar early this morning (11/15).  1,000 packets were distributed in Brgy. San Antonio, Basey, Samar today, and distribution will resume at first light tomorrow.

*  1,547 shelter repair kits are currently being distributed in Northern Cebu in the communities of Daan Bantayan, Medellin and Bogo.

A comprehensive UCC Typhoon Haiyan response webpage has been created.  Please check often for resources, updates and news from our partners.

November 13, 2013

Financial Support Is Best Response to Typhoon in Philippines
Letter from Anthony Buller, FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency

As Americans we are a generous people.  Throughout the country countless congregations and organizations are gathering things they think are needed to serve survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).  Many of these kind-hearted folks will be wrong.  Fur coats and frozen lasagna are not needed in the Philippines.  What is needed?  A well-coordinated and well-resourced humanitarian response.

To be part of a well-coordinated and well-resourced humanitarian response, we turn to proven systems like the US Agency for International Development (USAID: www.usaid.gov/haiyan) and the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI: http://www.cidi.org/).  We turn to the responding agencies with experience in international disasters.  We support them smartly.  With financial support.  The two given links and this fact sheet have additional information.  At the bottom of the CIDI page, for example, are short videos that explain how to smartly respond to international disaster.

Please share the word that financial support to appropriate responding agencies is the best way to help in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). 

Thank you,

Anthony Buller, CEM

FEMA R3 Voluntary Agency Liaison



November 11, 2013

UCC Response to Typhoon Haiyan
Letter from Jim Moos, Executive Director, UCC Wider Church Ministries

Dear Colleagues:

I write to inform you of the UCC’s response to Typhoon Haiyan and invite your assistance in helping spread the word.

Xiaoling Zhu, Global Ministries Area Executive for East Asia & Pacific, and Susan Sanders, Minister for Global Sharing of Resources, have been in regular contact with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Church World Service and the ACT Alliance since last Thursday.  Here are some updates:

·  One Great Hour of Sharing initial commitments of $25,000 to the ACT Alliance and $5,000 to the United Church of Christ in the Philippines have been made.   

·  Wider Church Ministries today issued a $250,000 appeal to support Typhoon Haiyan relief and recovery activities of our partners.

·  A blast e-mail encouraging generous support of the appeal is being sent today to 60,000+ UCC members and friends.

·  News stories on Typhoon Haiyan may be found on the UC News portal.

·  The appeal and UCC response to Typhoon Haiyan will be featured in UCC weekly e-news, KYP - Keeping You Posted, on Tuesday, November 12, along with a downloadable bulletin insert for use in congregations.


Jim Moos

Executive Minister,

Wider Church Ministries



October 30

Helping Families Recover Financially after a Disaster

Five webinars to be held monthly, November through March
Presented by the University of Minnesota Extension Service

This webinar series will help professionals assist individuals and families with disaster financial recovery including:

  • Becoming familiar with the "Recovery After Disaster:  The Family Financial Toolkit"

  • Identifying key strategies and resources to help with financial recovery

  • Determining family financial picture

  • Guiding families as they make financial decision

Cost:   Free

Dates and Times

Webinar #1 - November 26, 2013 - 2:00 - 3:00 CDT — What Do I Do Now?  Documenting, Coping & Caring

Webinar #2 - December 17, 2013 - 2:00 - 3:00 CDT Where to Start?  Moving Towards Recovery

Webinar #3 - January 14, 2014 - 2:00 - 3:00 CDT  — Where Am I Financially?  Taking a Financial Snapshot

Webinar #4 - February 18 2014 -- 2:00 - 3:00 CDT — Where Will I Live? Making Housing Decisions  

Webinar #5 - March 18, 2014 - 2:00 - 3:00 CDT — What Will Life Look Like?  Creating the New Reality

Read more details in flyer


September 23

Three areas recovering from disasters need your help now

1.  Lake County, Ohio

In Lake County, Ohio there are cases of flooded homes with post-cleanup repairs needed now.  Contact the case worker, Michelle, at 440-352-3166 for details.


2.  West Virginia

There are multiple cases of mobile home roof damage from Hurricane Sandy and the 2012 Derecho in West Virginia.  The case worker has identified numerous needs from elderly folks where roofs need repair or even replacement. 

Read case details and contact information here

3.  Northern New Jersey

In New Jersey Hurricane Sandy made a major impact.  In the towns of Little Ferry and Moonachie the recovery organization has established projects, and volunteer housing is available.  The repairs are needed in conventional housing from basement flooding. 

Questions?  Contact Judy Moore, UCC Disaster Recovery Registrar, 802-299-8290 or  jmooreucc@gmail.com.

More information and registration


September 16, 2013

Hurricane Sandy almost 1 year later

Volunteers are needed to rebuild homes

One resident's flood story

You are needed now and for the next year in Bergen County, NJ to rebuild homes.  Sandy left the towns of Moonachie and Little Ferry under several feet of salt water for days after a 9-foot ocean surge overflowed the Hackensack River.  Almost all of the small homes in this area were damaged and residents were traumatized. 

Local organizations responded immediately to help support these communities.  Projects are ongoing to repair homes in this area.  However, most of the media focus is on the Jersey shore.  Almost a year after Sandy hit, the small inland area of Northern New Jersey is being overlooked.

This is a largely commercial area, and the residents are working class folks and/or on fixed incomes. Some people are living in their homes with mold and all.  The exterior of the houses look undamaged, but inside, they are in terrible condition. 

The coordinators of the rebuild effort, The Bergen County VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), are asking for our help for at least a year.  There are simply not enough volunteers to help rebuild the more than 100 family homes on the waiting list.  Right now, there are specific jobs involving work on 16 houses that need to be completed by the end of October. 

Work Group Details

  • Work groups of 2 or more are welcome, all skill levels

  • Work as long as you would like: 2 days or more, including weekends

  • Young adults, 16 – 18 years old, are welcome with a 1:4 adult to youth ratio. 

  • The only week that is booked is the last week of October.


  • A converted duplex home that can house up to 30 volunteers at a time

  • Less than 3 miles from most of the worksites

  • 2 kitchens, 2 bathrooms and bunk beds in common areas

  • Groups bring their own bedding and prepare their own meals

  • Cost:  $20 per person, per night

Register your group




Contact Judy Moore, UCC Disaster Recovery Registrar

802-299-8290 or  jmooreucc@gmail.com 


One resident's flood story

One resident explained the night of October 29 this way,

"I went outside around 11 pm to check around my property.  The wind and rain had died down so I thought we were in the clear. There were a few downed branches in my yard, but otherwise we were okay.  

I went back inside, and 15 minutes later I started to hear every car alarm on the block go off.  I stepped outside and found that about 7 feet of water had flooded our entire street.

When I opened the basement door, I found water all the way up to the third step.  I turned around and closed the door behind me and just hoped I didn't need anything down there as the entire basement was under water.  

We had to stand outside on our front steps, which are already 10 feet up from the ground, so the rescue helicopters could count how many people they had to come get. We left our water-logged home by raft a few hours later."  

Many of the residents of Little Ferry and Moonachie have similar stories. Even the local shelters they were sent to inevitably flooded,  and over 2,000 people were eventually evacuated to a shelter 20 miles away.

Description of current conditions in Bergen County, NJ from Marisa Santiago, Volunteer Coordinator, onsite at The Bergen County VOAD
(Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster)

When you drive through Moonachie and Little Ferry, New Jersey, you can't tell that Hurricane Sandy devastated the area.  From the street, most houses look as they did before the storm.

Inside the homes, it's a different story. The first floors and basements have been gutted. Residents are living with mold or bare wall studs, waiting for assistance.

Almost a year after the storm, we continue to sign up new clients who are in need of help to get their homes and lives back together. Many residents thought that they would be able to handle repairs on their own, but only now are realizing the amount of work ahead of them.

Many of our clients have lived in their homes for decades. Some lost all of their possessions, and many did not have flood insurance.  FEMA's help could only take people so far into the rebuilding process, and many did not receive assistance that covered their actual repair bills.

These two working-class towns have fewer than 15,000 residents combined, and 400 of the households live in mobile home communities.

Nobody could have predicted that an ocean surge would travel 30 miles from the shore, damage and then overtake a berm on the Hackensack River, flooding several towns.

The water receded the next afternoon but left damaged homes, flooded cars and destroyed property in its wake.  The flood consisted of brackish water—salt water mixed with fresh—along with industrial pollutants, all types of debris and fish you normally find only in the ocean.  And in the months to follow we would find that mold became a pressing issue in so many of these homes.

The Bergen County VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) has been involved in the area's recovery efforts since even before the storm.  Our Hurricane Sandy Long Term Recovery Committee has pledged to assist residents "until the job is done or the money is gone."

We have repaired over 400 homes in Bergen County, and there are still hundreds more to go.  Some houses have major repairs, which are estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars. To stretch our donated funds, we try to use as much volunteer labor as possible.

For more information, email or call:
Judy Moore: 802-299-8290 or jmooreucc@gmail.com

To register for a mission trip:



August 29, 2013

CWS "Health and Safety in Disaster Recovery" Webinar September 10

  • Church World Service webinar, “Health and Safety in Disaster Recovery”

  • September 10, 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern time

  • Leader:  Claire Galiano, a health and safety trainer with the New Jersey Work Environment Council (NJWEC)

  • Participation is free. 

  • Register here:     https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/176790954    


Health and Safety are vital components of disaster relief and recovery, not only for the survivors, but also for the volunteers who are often in risky environments. 

Webinar leader Claire Galiano has played an important role in the recovery process following Superstorm Sandy. 

She will be joined by Bill Hubler and Jonathan Morawetz, who also have worked with the United Church of Christ, CWS, and various recovery organizations during numerous training events, including “Recovery Tools and Training” workshops in New Jersey following Superstorm Sandy, and in New York City following the September 11 terrorist attacks.



August 6, 2013

Church World Service School, Baby Care and Cleanup Kits Urgently Needed

Thanks to the great efforts of CWS communions, Church World Service has a good stock of CWS Hygiene Kits. But the stock of CWS School Kits, Baby Care Kits and Emergency Cleanup Buckets is very low.

More materials are needed to respond to pending requests and be ready for future emergencies. Information on various kits that may be compiled and donated to CWS may be found at http://www.cwsglobal.org/get-involved/kits.

CWS Kits are small packages of supplies assembled by volunteers and shipped to people in need around the world.  The contents of each kit have been selected with care based on years of experience to make them as useful as possible, wherever and whenever they are sent.

Kits may be sent to CWS all year.  Each kit page provides a list of items to include, along with packing and shipping information to our collection centers in New Windsor, Maryland and Little Rock, Arkansas. Some states have drop-off points at various times as well.

Cash donations in lieu of assembled kits also help us to provide much-needed supplies.

Thank you for giving from the heart!  Your continuing support of this program is very important and helps to ensure CWS Kits are available for immediate response after a disaster.

If you have any questions, read our FAQs, or call your CWS Regional Office toll-free at 888-297-2767.


June 30, 2013

Northern New Jersey ready to receive Hurricane Sandy recovery volunteers

Bergen County (Moonachie and Little Ferry), New Jersey is ready to receive volunteer work groups to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy.  The web link to register is below.  




June 25, 2013

FEMA Releases Emergency Guide for Houses of Worship

This guide, developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, provides houses of worship with information about emergency operations planning for the spectrum of threats and hazards they may face.  


It discusses actions that may be taken before, during, and after an incident in order to reduce the impact on property and any loss of life, and it encourages every house of worship to develop an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP).  


Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship (PDF)



UCC Resource for Local Church Emergency Preparedness

There is also a resource for local churches at www.ucc.org  that is helpful in developing a disaster preparedness and response plan:





May 21, 2013

United Church of Christ Organizes Response to Tornadoes in Oklahoma

The United Church of Christ has issued an appeal for funds for assistance to the communities impacted by the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma.  Below is the web link with current information.  Please check here and on the One Great Hour of Sharing Facebook page (same information will be on both) for new information as it becomes available.  Thank you for your commitment to disaster ministries.

Web link:  http://www.ucc.org/disaster/oklahoma-tornados.html


May 2013

Situation Report from Oklahoma

The message below was sent out yesterday by the Chairperson of Oklahoma's VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) organization to others in the national VOAD network:

Oklahoma VOAD---DISASTER RESPONSE --- Situation Update #01 –  May 20, 2013

Dear Oklahoma VOAD Partners,

We have had a very difficult couple of days with some very devastating tornados hitting several communities in Oklahoma.  As I write this we are still experiencing tornados on the ground in Oklahoma.  We know you all are seeing and hearing about the devastation and want to assist as soon as possible, but right now we want to ask you to do the following things to make our collaborative effort as effective as possible for our neighbors in need:

1.   Please join us in allowing the first responders to do the work they need to do.  It will take time to assess the complete amount of damage our fellow Oklahomans have suffered and comprise a list of how our VOAD organizations can help to meet their needs. 

2.   In the meantime, begin to take inventory of all available goods, services, and resources of your organization.  Also, please take inventory of your organizations personnel and volunteers with their skill sets and availability.

3.   At this time, PLEASE ask your organizations to make financial donations only until when and if other types of donations are requested.  We all KNOW not heeding this request can lead to the second disaster after the disaster.


Many unsolicited volunteers are showing up at the Incident Command Center in Moore!!   PLEASE  instruct all volunteers associated with your organization or other individual volunteers or groups you may come in contact with to NOT self-deploy. Best practices include a collaborative response, so people are directed WHEN NEEDED and WHERE NEEDED so their help and skills are most needed and will be most effective.



May 8, 2013

Church World Service Appeals Urgently for Emergency Cleanup Buckets

As the 2,500th CWS Emergency Cleanup Bucket arrives today (May 7) in flood-ravaged Illinois, Church World Service is appealing urgently for people to replenish its rapidly dwindling supply.

Heavy precipitation from early 2013 storms and floods has resulted in widespread and severe flooding in Illinois and other states.

“The CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets are giving hope and help to survivors,” said Barry Shade, CWS associate director for U.S. disaster response.  “With needs assessment ongoing, CWS expects to respond to additional requests from Illinois and other states for buckets.  When we do, we hope to be able to respond without delay.”

Only about 2,600 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets remain in the agency’s warehouse in New Windsor, Md., Shade said.

A shipment of 1,008 Church World Service Emergency Cleanup Buckets is scheduled to reach Peoria, Ill., on Tuesday (May 7) for distribution to area households as flood waters recede from their properties.

The DuPage County, Ill., Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management received and quickly distributed 500 at the end of April, and the Red Cross in Rolling Meadows, Ill., received 992 buckets for distribution Saturday (May 4).

Church World Service, a global humanitarian agency and sponsor of CROP Hunger Walks, emphasizes the importance of faith community involvement in long-term recovery from disaster. The agency enlists congregations in supplying tens of thousands of CWS Blankets, CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets and other CWS Kits for shipment to disaster survivors every year.

In addition, it helps flood survivors access the material, emotional, spiritual and human resources they need to get back on their feet and go on with their lives by helping communities to start their own long-term recovery groups.

CWS Emergency Cleanup Bucket contents and instructions:




April 2013

Nationwide Update on Disaster Recovery Status

Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio Disaster Response Services has just published a summary of the status of disaster recovery sites from Alabama to West Virginia. If you are looking for an update of national disasters and opportunities to serve, the information you need is here!   Recovery Operations Report



March 2013


Hurricane Sandy recovery sites in NY and NJ are ready for volunteers

And there's a long way to go.

We are pleased to announce the opening of two opportunities for your group to participate in disaster recovery related to Hurricane Sandy.

Registration forms and information:


• Opportunities now are available in Atlantic City, NJ in partnership with the Fuller Center for Housing.  This community is ready to embark on the repair/rebuild stage of disaster recovery.  The minimum age is 16 years (with some limited projects for volunteers age 14.  Registration Information

• Northern New Jersey is ready to receive volunteers to rebuild homes

Bergen County (Moonachie and Little Ferry), New Jersey is ready to receive volunteer work groups to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy.  The web link to register is below.  


• Opportunities for service (and group housing) now also are available in New York City in partnership with New York Cares, with housing at a local UCC church. 

This opportunity engages volunteers in the continuing muck out/mold remediation stage of disaster recovery. Volunteers at this location will not be doing repair/rebuild. 

Also note: although disaster-related projects are assigned with priority, groups serving here also may engage in non-disaster-related volunteer projects with New York Cares.  Those particular project assignments are made one month prior to the date of service.  The minimum age for this location is 18 years.  Registration

The length of time between Hurricane Sandy's destruction in late October 2012 and today, when impacted communities still are hovering between the continuing clean-up stage of recovery and the housing repair/rebuild stage illustrates the need for the commitment to long-term disaster recovery.  The recovery process takes a long time. The sustenance of faith feeds a commitment to accompany people through the long-term process of disaster recovery.  Thank you for that commitment of faith.

We will continue to post opportunities for service here as they become available.




October 4, 2012

Work teams needed through end of 2013

Decisions have recently been made by our local partners in Binghamton, NY; Joplin, Missouri and Minot, North Dakota to continue work on repairing homes through December 2013.  In all three places work will continue through the Winter months (weather permitting). 

There is a lot of work still to be done, and Minot and Binghamton are particularly in need of volunteers.  Details for groups are included via the links below.  Your help is greatly appreciated.

Joplin, Missouri:



Minot, North Dakota:



Binghamton, New York





August 22, 2012


Rolls of Donated Roof Covering Delivered to Fayette County, West Virginia

On August 20, Jim Ditzler, coordinator of the Ohio Conference Disaster Response Team, delivered 10 large rolls of heavy-duty, weather-resistant fabric to the Fayette County, West Virginia Emergency Management Association warehouse. The 4,000 pounds of fabric was donated by the Seaman Corporation, with headquarters in Wooster, Ohio. It will be used to temporarily cover roofs damaged by falling trees during the June 29 storm that swept through the heavily wooded south-central West Virginia county. The same material has been donated by Seaman after disasters such as Hurricane Katrina to provide temporary shelters and protect damaged buildings from weather.

Homeowners in many areas of West Virginia often must wait many weeks or months for a team of workers, either paid or volunteer, who can fix a damaged roof. Large numbers of homes were damaged by the recent storm, and many homeowners do not have insurance and cannot afford the repair themselves. The donated material —100 times tougher than the blue plastic tarps typically used to cover damaged roofs — will provide sturdy, durable protection from the weather until permanent repairs can be made.

Read a related story from the August 16 Charleston, West Virginia Daily Mail about the disaster recovery effort through West Virginia VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster)



July 3, 2012

Long-term disaster recovery update from UCC Volunteer Ministries and UCC National Disaster Ministries

2011 and 2012 brought many challenges to communities in the form of tornadoes, severe storms and flooding.  Thousands of volunteers have formed work groups across multiple denominations to assist these communities in recovery to rebuild/repair homes.  Your continuing commitment to serving communities in need is inspiring and greatly appreciated.

Locations ready to help you serve in disaster recovery are listed below.


  Find us on Facebook!

Find out more, ask questions, join us!

Contact Team Coordinators Jim Ditzler (330-262-3242)
or George Siddall (513-228-0515) to learn more.



Did you know... ?

. . . that the Ohio Conference is one of just three organizations in the United States that assembles and distributes disaster response clean up and personal care kits.

Kit ingredient lists (PDF) - One page, easy to print

. . . that the Ohio Conference Disaster Response Ministry served as the model for the other UCC disaster response ministries?





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