Updated Emergency Appeal: U.S. Hurricane Relief

October 2, 2017

Appeal code: 628-G
Appeal amount: $600,000

This is an update to the September 11 appeal, which can be found here.

Situation

In the past six weeks, three powerful hurricanes have battered parts of the United States. There are nearly two months left in hurricane season as well.

Hurricane Harvey dumped up to 50 inches of rain on parts of Texas. Piles of debris are a common sight along streets in much of Houston, and tens of thousands of people are still displaced. After leaving a trail of destruction across much of the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma slammed into the Florida Keys and then made its way north through the state. While the Florida Keys are now beginning to reopen for tourists, the cleanup efforts across the state continue.

Most recently, Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc in Puerto Rico when it made landfall on September 20. Residents now face acute shortages of most needed supplies, from drinking water to gasoline. The storm knocked out the nation’s power, and as of October 1 Reuters reported, “About half of the island’s people do not have access to drinking water, and 95 percent remain without power, according to the Pentagon. Nearly 90 percent of cell phone towers are out of service, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

CWS Response

CWS has been part of immediate response to these hurricanes through CWS Hygiene Kits, Emergency Cleanup Buckets and other supplies. Well over 100,000 items have been part of the response. This has included:

  • 89,216 hygiene kits, 1,527 cleanup buckets 1,110 school kits and 450 blankets for Harvey relief in Texas
  • 525 blankets, 340 hygiene kits, 186 cleanup buckets and 90 school kits for Irma relief in Florida
  • 22,500 hygiene kits and 500 tarps (with cord) for Maria relief in Puerto Rico

CWS Emergency Response Specialists have been on the ground in Texas and Florida to meet with partners and coordinate long-term recovery efforts. They have been assessing ongoing and long-term recovery needs, and we have begun to identify organizations in need of additional material, financial or other support.

In Florida, the CWS Immigration and Refugee Program offices in Miami and Palm Beach have reopened. They have been collecting and distributing donated goods, including food and water, to senior citizen residents and in neighborhoods where needs have been significant.

We are supporting the American Baptist Churches USA in Puerto Rico by shipping a container of supplies, as noted above. Additional shipments are pending as well.

At this time, CWS does not have plans to respond in the U.S. Virgin Islands. However, we continue to be in contact with partners, and are ready to provide CWS Kits and other supplies to partners on the ground.

How to Help

Donations can be made online or can be sent to your denomination or to:

Church World Service
P.O. Box 968
Elkhart, IN 46515

Designate 628-G, U.S. Hurricane Response

Information on assembling and shipping CWS Kits and Emergency Cleanup Buckets can be found at cwskits.org. There are collection sites open in some states for supplies, but some of those temporary depots are now closed. Please consult the list of collection sites before beginning to assemble CWS Kits.