United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) responds to natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes,major storms and tornadoes, as well as disasters of human origin, such as explosions, shootings, and bombings.
Through local United Methodist churches and trained disaster response workers, UMCOR provides immediate relief, assistance with cleanup and rebuilding, pastoral counseling, and support for children and youth who have been through trauma.
The term "natural disaster" defines the scope of invovlement in the United States for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). The term refers to floods, earthquakes, storms, tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, or other "acts of God", and under extraordinary circumstances could include an especially disastrous fire, explosion, transportation wreck, or other emergency in which persons are suddenly plunged into suffering and grief. Hundreds of natural disasters occur each year in the U.S. and leave in their wake destruction, suffering and despair. Some are of major proportions and require the utilization of tremendous resources provided by the United Methodist Church, as well as, by governmental and other agencies.
RELIEF The first phase of UMCOR response is relief. It takes the form of shipment and distribution of material goods (water purification tablets, blankets, tents, food, medical supplies and clothing) wherever and whenever needed, within the shortest time possible after the disaster. It also involves aiding transportation, and offering a sympathetic ear and general counsel wherever it is sought. When possible, UMCOR works in cooperation with other voluntary agencies in response to human need in the disaster situation.
CLEAN-UP Some of UMCOR's most effective service is in helping storm and flood victims clean-up. The work is difficult yet it offers opportunity for unskilled workers to help and to develop a missional relationship with survivors. Usually premises can be cleaned and personal possessions salvaged without detailed inspection by insurance adjusters.
REBUILDING Reconstruction is more complicated and begins after the emergency period is over. This phase of the rehabilitation program involves securing materials and special skills and requires insurance adjusters to be involved. It is not part of the emergency operation.
SPIRITUAL AND EMOTIONAL CARE The most important task of the church in a disaster is to provide support to those who have suffered loss, both human and material. Its role is to be a supportive and encouraging presence particularly when other agencies are at work in the disaster area and when they have disengaged.