Emergency Appeal #628-A Update #3: 2014 U.S. Spring / Summer Storms

August 26, 2014


APPEAL GOAL: $120,000


This summer, severe weather has continued to devastate numerous U.S. states, with wind, tornados, hail, flooding and wildfires causing extensive damage. In support of survivors’ early needs, Church World Service has provided CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets, Kits and Blankets assembled and contributed by its member communions and their congregations nationwide. CWS also has supported local long-term recovery groups with training, consultations and start-up grants.

This week, CWS is shipping material goods to the Sisters of Hope Charitable Community and Disaster Relief Outreach in Garrett, Ky. Floyd County, Ky., was flooded August 23-24 by drenching rains, and the Sisters of Hope are responding. CWS is shipping 360 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets, 240 CWS Hygiene Kits and 300 CWS Blankets to the relief agency. These materials will be provided to survivors in the communities of Prestonsburg, Allen, Martin and other nearby towns.

Last week, CWS shipped 2,000 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets to an American Red Cross distribution center in Detroit. On August 11, heavy rains of 5 to 6 inches caused extensive flooding of the Rouge, Lower Rouge and Clinton Rivers in Michigan, especially affecting Warren and the Detroit metropolitan area. There was one reported fatality from the flooding. The mayor of Warren reported that 16,000 homes had been flooded in Warren. In Detroit more than 10,000 homes are reported flooded. The exact extent and severity of the damage is not yet known. Federal Emergency Management Agency and state and local officials are currently conducting damage assessments in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

Since June 26, the last update to its 2014 U.S Spring/Summer Storms Appeal #628-A, CWS also has added the following to the list of weather-related disasters it is monitoring closely:

  • tornados and low-level flooding across Illinois (July)
  • severe flooding in numerous communities across Iowa (July and August); in and around Memphis, Tenn., and in eastern Arkansas (late June)
  • wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington (July and August)
  • Hurricane Iselle in Hawaii (August)
La Forice Nealy, CEO of the Southeastern Michigan Region of the American Red Cross, and Larry Conover, Assistant Field Director, Michigan Region, Church World Service, with some of the 2,000 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets ready for distribution to flood survivors in greater Detroit, Mich. Photo: American Red Cross

La Forice Nealy, CEO of the Southeastern Michigan Region of the American Red Cross, and Larry Conover, Assistant Field Director, Michigan Region, Church World Service, with some of the 2,000 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets ready for distribution to flood survivors in greater Detroit, Mich. Photo: American Red Cross

CWS disaster response specialists gather information as it becomes available and reach out to work in partnership with members and partners in affected states, including FEMA Voluntary Agency Liaisons, State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters and faith-based organizations.

In May through August, CWS conducted on-site long-term recovery trainings and consultations in Mississippi, Nebraska, Florida, Illinois (this one related to another appeal, 627-Y, 2013 US Storms, Floods, Tornadoes and Wildfires), Arkansas, Indiana, Alabama and Louisiana. Partners in these events included the United Methodist Committee on Relief, World Renew, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Lutheran Disaster Response, and various state and local agencies.

Also in May through August, under 628-A, CWS approved disaster long-term recovery group start-up grants totaling $9,000: $5,000 to Logan County Long-Term Recovery Group, Logan, Okla. (tornados) and $4,000 to the San Diego County VOAD, El Cajon, Calif. (fires).

Other grants approved earlier this year were to the Union County Long-Term Recovery Group in Elizabeth, N.J. (Superstorm Sandy), and (for 627-Y) to the Weld County Community Recovery Committee, Greeley, Colo.; Foothills United Way, Lafayette, Colo.; Estes Valley Long-Term Recovery Group, Estes Park, Colo. (flood response), and Travis Austin Recovery Group, Austin, Texas (flooding on Halloween 2013).

In CY 2014 to date, in response to spring/summer storms, CWS has provided a total of 3,218 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets, 531 CWS Hygiene Kits, 100 CWS School Kits and 300 CWS Blankets to domestic disaster survivors in Kansas, Alabama, Michigan, Kentucky and Iowa. The value of these needed supplies is over $124,000.


National and regional entities and local congregations of CWS member communions are active in all affected states. They are clearing debris and mucking out homes. They are providing food in shelters, emergency grants, emotional and spiritual care, volunteer management and supplies of various kinds to meet survivors’ needs. And they are developing their plans for repair and rebuild activities and other long-term support to affected communities.

Here is a sampling of long-term recovery work of member communions and partners:

The United Methodist Committee on Relief has provided communities with Emergency Grants, and has sent out Emergency Response Teams for assessment and planning with communities and to provide Emotional and Spiritual Care and Disaster Case Management Training.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is working with communities to provide volunteer management. PDA’s National Response Teams are working to develop plans for their long-term support to impacted communities.

Lutheran Disaster Response is also working with affected communities to develop rebuilding and recovery plans. Lutherans are also actively supporting storm survivors with immediate cleanup and relief activities.

Week of Compassion of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has provided numerous communities with Solidarity Grants to support their immediate relief and recovery needs.

United Church of Christ conference coordinators have visited affected communities in several states to develop plans for long-term repair and rebuild activities.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is working with affected communities to develop plans for future home repair and rebuild activities.

World Renew is visiting affected communities to assess immediate needs and to develop long-term rebuild plans.

International Orthodox Christian Charities is reaching out to affected communities to determine immediate needs for relief and response.

American Baptist Churches USA is assessing impacted communities to determine future rebuild activities.

Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers continue to assist communities with cleanup activities. MDS is also working with communities to determine what additional responses are needed in the short and long term.


Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be made online sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. (REF: 2014 Spring Storms, Appeal #628-A.)

CWS thanks its member communions for the efforts to help restock its warehouses with CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets, Hygiene Kits, Baby Care Kits and School Kits.  Many people in need will benefit from these resources. All efforts to replenish our supplies for future emergencies are as always greatly appreciated. CWS Baby Care Kits and School Kits are in shortest supply right now. Click here for information on the CWS Kits program:http://www.cwsglobal.org/get-involved/kits/

During any disaster, the most important humanitarian donation can be made is cash. Used clothing and other materials do little to restore the dignity of survivors.

CWS is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.