The Latest from Rev. Richard Norman, Disaster Response

9/25/2017

Hurricane Harvey Affected Conferences at Different Levels of Volunteer Team Acceptance
There are three United Methodist Annual Conferences who were directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey. I have been staying in contact with each one of them as this disaster event has progresses.  The three conferences are 1) The Texas Annual Conference, 2) The Rio Texas Conference and 3) The Louisiana Annual Conference, as of today, each are at a different position of accepting teams.
 
The Texas Annual Conference is currently asking for certified VIM Team Leaders to pull together teams and preferably have one ERT Trained person on the team or to have someone on the team who understands how to Muck-Out a home. They want Teams to know that most of the work at this time includes mucking out, cleaning out, and gutting of homes. They want you to know that this work is dirty and conditions may be hazardous, so please bring appropriate protective gear for all team members including respirators, Tyvek suits, gloves, eye protection, etc. Members must be over the age of 18 and have proof of Safe Sanctuary Certification from your Annual Conference / Local Church.
 
The Louisiana Annual Conference is currently working two different disasters in their state. They are requesting certified VIM Team Leaders to pull together teams to serve either in the Early Response Phase (i.e. mucking out homes) in Response to Hurricane Harvey in the Southwest part of the state OR to serve in the Recovery Phase (i.e. repairing or rebuilding homes) in response to the 2016 floods in the Baton Rouge, Denham Springs, Gonzales and Hammond areas. You will also be asked to bring appropriate protective gear for all team members including respirators, Tyvek suits, gloves, eye protection, etc. They ask Team Leaders to first connect with your Annual Conference / Local United Methodist Church to form a team. NOTE: Individuals below 18 years of age will not be allowed to work in the Hurricane Harvey area during the Early Response Phase. However, individuals 13 years of age and above can work in August 2016 Flood Recovery areas. 
 
The Rio Texas Annual Conference states that they continue to need additional Trained ERT Teams ONLY. They will let us know when they are ready to receive Disaster Recovery Teams.
 
If you are a Team Leader who is ready to register a Team to serve in one of these areas please start the registration process with the Oklahoma Conference VIM office at this link Team Registration  or contact Lori Foster LFoster@okumc.org or Richard Norman RNorman@okumc.org if you have other questions.
 
I would also like to remind you that your Oklahoma Annual Conference is requesting certified VIM Team Leaders to pull together teams to serve in the Recovery Phase (i.e. repairing homes) in response to the 2015 Flooding that occurred in 66 of our 77 counties in Oklahoma. Families statewide are facing their 3rd winter in a home that is not safe, sanitary, and secure. Home repairs are still needed for 200+ families across the state. For more information please visit our website www.OKUMC-DR.org  to hear a survivor’s personal story and comments from Bishop Nunn. You can also go to an interactive map which shows locations of homes waiting to be repaired so you can pick a project or pick a location. We encourage you to find a project and click here to register and help our Oklahoma neighbors in need.
 
I hope this update information is helpful and please let me know if you have any other questions about these disaster sites and/or the processes of serving them.
 
Blessings & "Good Fruit!",
Rev. Richard W. Norman
Associate Director / Disaster Response Coordinator
Oklahoma United Methodist Church
Volunteers In Mission