Episcopal Relief & Development Provides Emergency Assistance after Hurricane Michael
Episcopal Relief & Development is working with affected Episcopal dioceses to provide critical support for local communities impacted by Hurricane Michael. Through partnerships with the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia and the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, the organization is providing emergency assistance to individuals and families affected by the storm, including food, shelter, generators and other basic supplies.
Hurricane Michael made landfall as a Category 4 storm on Wednesday, October 10, devastating areas of the Florida Panhandle and Georgia. The storm is responsible for at least 28 deaths in four states and destroyed homes and valuable infrastructure, particularly in Florida and Georgia. Over 140,000 Florida residents remained without power on Tuesday morning.
Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster team has conducted daily coordination calls with leaders from dioceses impacted by Hurricane Michael since last week to support their efforts to provide relief to affected communities. The team will meeting with clergy from affected dioceses to help them assess needs and mobilize to respond to the most vulnerable communities.
Decatur County in Georgia was one area particularly hard hit. Albany, GA is without potable water, although power has been restored in many areas. Surrounding areas report downed power lines and damage to buildings and homes. The Diocese of Georgia is working to supply water purifiers to provide drinking water. The church is also responding with shelter, food and other supplies.
The Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast reports that Hurricane Michael caused damage affecting communities from Highway 331 to the Apalachicola River in Florida and from the coast to the Alabama state line. High winds and heavy rains knocked down power lines and trees, damaging at least 10 churches and schools as well as the communities surrounding them. The diocese is providing generators and gas to address power outages as well as cleaning supplies.
“I am encouraged to see how our local diocesan partners have mobilized in response to this devastating hurricane,” said Katie Mears, Senior Director of Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program. “They are deeply embedded in their communities, helping people access other networks and resources.”
The Rt. Rev. Russell Kendrick and the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast have invited Mears to visit the affected areas in Florida this week to see the impact firsthand and plan how Episcopal Relief & Development can support ministry in the coming weeks and months.
For over 75 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working together with supporters and partners for lasting change around the world. Each year the organization facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives for more than 3 million people struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease. Inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, Episcopal Relief & Development leverages the expertise and resources of Anglican and other partners to deliver measurable and sustainable change in three signature program areas: Women, Children and Climate.
Photo: Stephanie Fisher Photography