On July 28th, in the middle of the night, communities throughout Eastern woke up to 11 inches of rain that fell within 2 hours. Many people lost their homes. 40 people lost their lives. Entire communities were devastated by the destruction. Thousands found themselves homeless, having lost everything they owned and cherished.
From day one, Kentucky and Red Bird Missionary Conference staff, local laity, and pastors were on the ground helping people. But we quickly found that with the recent tornado destruction in Western Kentucky and now flooding in Eastern Kentucky there was much more to be done than we could fathom. And we were being spread thin working within both areas.
Bishop Fairley has appointed Jim Morse the Conference Disaster Response Coordinator (CDRC) of Kentucky Conference to be the Regional Coordinator for Western Kentucky, and Jim Savage CDRC of Red Bird Missionary Conference to be the Regional Coordinator for Eastern Kentucky. Working with UMCOR to bring Assessment Teams and Early Response Teams to the affected area, relief began and continues throughout both regions.
We are getting to a point in the Eastern Region to begin the recovery efforts. A Long-Term Recovery Group within all eight counties has been formed and efforts to get communities and families back as close to normal as possible are underway.
We will need your help.
As we enter the Recovery Phase of a disaster, it is of utmost importance that volunteer groups are formed to assist families in their recovery through rebuilding. United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) will begin to put together teams for these efforts. Gary Baker is the UMVIM coordinator for Kentucky Conference. We have secured 6 host site churches within the affected area that will house teams for deployment that will begin in the Spring of 2023.
We want to ensure all efforts of recovery are coordinated together. If you, your church, or your organization would like to help the people in Eastern Kentucky with recovery, contact Jim Savage at the Red Bird Missionary Conference office by calling 606-658-6039 or 270-993-8908 (cell).