Having done significant damage last week in the Caribbean, Hurricane Sandy is crossing the Eastern North American coast. The combination of the hurricane, a large low-pressure system coming across the Mid-Atlantic States and a cold front from the north have converged to produce a massive storm that will continue to affect the northeast US and Canada for the next several days.
Effects of the storm include: tidal storm surge from Virginia to Maine; tropical storm winds from the coast to as far west as Ohio; heavy rains from North Carolina to Maine and up into Nova Scotia, Canada; and heavy snow fall (as much as 24 inches) in the northern Appalachian Mountains, in West Virginia in particular; and serious flooding in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Early predicted damage estimates are in the tens of millions.
Hurricane Sandy is already a killer, having caused at least 69 deaths in the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, at least 16 U.S. deaths, and one Canadian fatality. Across North America, more than 7 million are without electricity, and more than 15,000 flights have been canceled.
Week of Compassion stands ready to respond. We are in touch with Regional Ministers in affected areas, all of whom are busy collecting information from congregations concerning the effects of Sandy on their members or communities.
Our partners at Church World Service will provide material resources in affected areas, including blankets, hygiene kits and clean-up buckets, as needed. CWS also will assist communities in developing long-term recovery plans and provide technical and financial support, as possible.
We are also coordinating with our partners, including the Latin American Caribbean Area Office of Global Ministries, Church World Service, and the ACT Alliance, all of whom are currently assessing needs. Tropical storm conditions and severe rain and wind affected Haiti from October 23 to October 27, covering all departments of the country.
In Haiti, severe flooding damaged and blocked infrastructure/roads, damaged/destroyed houses, caused loss of livestock and severe damage to agricultural fields. Evacuations have taken place in risk-prone zones and certain Internally Displaced Persons camps. New outbreaks of cholera have been reported and more are expected in the coming days. The Cuban Council of Churches, a long-time CWS partner, is conducting damage assessments in affected areas. A shipment of material goods from CWS to Cuba departed on Oct. 27.
How You Can Respond:
- Remember, the best response in the midst of a humanitarian crisis is to donate from your financial resources. Week of Compassion will help you respond in a way that is efficient, flexible, and impactful. Click here to donate.
- Donations to the Church World Service Blankets+ program and supporting their clean-up bucket, hygiene kit, and other material resource efforts are also incredibly helpful.
- Of course, continue to keep those affected by the storm in your prayers. The clean-up effort will not happen overnight, and will take the efforts of many people. By teaming up with our great partners, we can contribute in effective, important ways.
The God of the rainbow, the God of healing, the God of hope calls us to respond. Thank you for your concern for all of those affected. Thank you for your prayers, and as always, for the generous, Courageous Compassion that moves each of you in word and deed.