In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew
Over the past seven days, Hurricane Matthew swept across the Caribbean and up the southeastern coast of the United States, leaving a path of destruction and flooding along the way.
- Current estimates from Haiti say that nearly 1,000 people have lost their lives because of the storm.
- Thousands of people in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas have been displaced from their homes due to flooding.
- Flood waters in the Carolinas are still rising, surprising and stranding thousands of people, some whom have needed to be rescued from rooftops.
- At least 21 deaths in the United States are related to Hurricane Matthew.
As of Tuesday morning, RCA Global Mission is working with partners in Haiti and in the impacted areas of the United States to help determine needs and how we can help fill those needs.
In Haiti, we are working with our international disaster response partner, World Vision, as they respond to the most pressing immediate needs. Thousands of people who were still rebuilding from the earthquake six years ago have been dealt a devastating blow that has set them back years. Gifts to RCA Global Mission are providing for immediate needs: clean water, shelter, and the establishment of child-safe zones. World Vision is distributing blankets, tarps, flashlights, water purification tablets, and more.
Although the flood waters are still rising in North Carolina, early response coordinators are already determining local needs in the states impacted by the storm. Hurricane Matthew clean-up and rebuilding will take years. Along with our partner, World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS), we are committed to helping people long-term as they rebuild their home and communities. In the meantime, World Renew DRS is sending rapid response teams beginning October 15.
While no RCA congregations have been directly impacted by this storm, several are near the impacted communities. Please keep these congregations in your prayers as they determine how they can best help people nearby who have suffered flooding or other storm damage.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Donate now. Help with the immediate needs of displaced families and with long-term efforts to rebuild their homes and their lives. Donate online at www.rca.org/hurricanematthew. Or mail a check to Reformed Church in America, Attn: Finance Department, 4500 60th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512, or, in Canada, to Regional Synod of Canada, 201 Paradise Rd. N., Hamilton, ON L8S 3T3. Please indicate “Hurricane Matthew” on your check.
Go. World Renew DRS needs rapid response teams as early as October 15. If your church has a rapid response team and is willing to help, please contact Stephanie Soderstrom (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you don’t have rapid response experience, other volunteer opportunities will be available in the months to come. Email email@example.com to learn more about these needs.
Pray. For people who have lost their homes, pray for shelter. For people in areas where the water is still rising, pray for safety. For people living in temporary housing, pray for sufficient provisions and good health. For emergency and rapid response workers, pray for protection. For people who have lost family members or homes or livelihoods, pray for comfort. Pray for hope.
Photo: North Carolina emergency services evacuate residents of a neighborhood that fell victim to the flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew in Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S., on October 8, 2016. Picture taken on October 8, 2016. Courtesy Jonathan Shaw/U.S. Army National Guard/Handout via REUTERS.