Episcopal Relief and Development has issued press releases regarding its work in the recovery following the September 19 earthquake in Mexico and Hurricane Maria.
Episcopal Relief & Development Responds to Earthquakes in MexicoEpiscopal Relief & Development has reached out to church partners after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake rocked the central part of Mexico on Tuesday, September 19, causing major damage and destruction in Mexico City, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Morelos and Puebla. It struck on the 32nd anniversary of an earthquake that killed over 5,000 people in 1985.
Dozens of buildings collapsed, including two schools, with over 200 deaths reported and leaving thousands trapped under the rubble. Rescue efforts were hampered by 23 aftershocks throughout the region as rescue efforts by police, firefighters, the military and volunteers work desperately to search for survivors. Over 4.6 million people are left without power and shelters have opened in several common spaces in affected areas.
This is the second major earthquake to hit Mexico this month. On September 7, an 8.2 magnitude quake caused approximately 100 deaths and damaged and destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings in Oaxaca and Chiapas.
Episcopal Relief & Development is coordinating with church partners to provide emergency assistance. The organization has been in contact with Bishop Benito Juarez-Martinez of the Anglican Diocese of Southeastern Mexico since the first earthquake struck. At that time, the diocese requested food, water and reconstruction materials to help 300 families in Oaxaca and Chiapas. As a result of the second quake, critical needs of the impacted communities are being reassessed and new areas of response added.
Please pray for affected families and communities in Mexico and for our church partners who are caring for those in need.
Donations to the International Disaster Response Fund will help Episcopal Relief & Development support people impacted by these two earthquakes in Mexico.
Preparing to Respond After Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are Devastated By Hurricane Maria
Hurricane Maria, the second major storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season to strike the Caribbean, cut a devastating swath through the islands of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic and Haiti as it moved past the Turks and Caicos and on to Bermuda this week. At least 25 deaths have been reported with damage estimated at $45 billion.
Two days after the hurricane hit the island of Puerto Rico, search and rescue efforts are still underway. The entire island remains without power, leaving its 3.4 million residents without electricity and water. Hundreds of people have been rescued from floodwaters. Roofs were ripped from buildings, cell phone towers knocked down and trees uprooted while catastrophic flooding continues around the island.
This Category 4 storm made landfall on Wednesday morning, causing heavy rains and winds, which in turn, resulted in massive flooding and mudslides. Rain is expected to continue through early next week, saturating already waterlogged soil with a great potential for mudslides. Many communities in smaller towns have been destroyed. Relatives and friends living on the mainland and in Puerto Rico are searching for news of loved ones.
“The devastation throughout the Caribbean is heartbreaking,” noted Abagail Nelson, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Senior Vice President of Programs. “We continue to reach out to the Episcopal Dioceses of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands but communications challenges persist. We sent support to both dioceses ahead of Hurricane Maria and we will continue to accompany them in responding to short and long-term needs in their communities.”
Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have been declared disaster areas. Extensive damage from both hurricanes has devastated most of the Virgin Islands with electricity and cell phone service knocked out, homes destroyed, with radio stations down and many roads rendered impassable. Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting relief efforts with the Episcopal Diocese of the Virgin Islands and the Convoy of Hope to deliver critical water and other necessities to the islands of Tortola and Virgin Gorda following Hurricane Irma.
Hurricane Irma heavily damaged the islands of Culebra and Vieques in Puerto Rico. Episcopal Relief & Development, in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Puerto Rico, is providing approximately 600 people on these two islands with temporary housing, medical care, food and meal delivery, clothing, home repairs, water and first aid supplies.
The Dominican Republic and Haiti were also hit by Hurricanes Maria and Irma, resulting in damage to homes, roads and agriculture. So far, the US and Caribbean have been impacted by four strong storms in this 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season.
“Please pray for people impacted by these life-threatening storms,” Nelson said. “There is a long road to recovery ahead for everyone.”
Contributions to Episcopal Relief & Development’s Hurricane Relief Fund will help support church and other local partners as they provide critical emergency assistance to those most in need in the weeks and months ahead.