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Disaster Response

NEWClick here and please give us your feed back on your experience in the recent ice storm.
United Methodist District and County Map – Click to enlarge.
VIM Disaster Response Manual

Volunteer Reception Center — Guide to Coordinating Unaffiliated Volunteers

PowerPoint Presentation for Training of Coordinating Unaffiliated Volunteers

Churches equipped with showers for VIM or Disaster Response

Laurel Mississippi – Missouri UM’s First Responder Team at Work

Joe Bartelsmeyer and first responder team from Schweitzer UMC are hard at work in Laurel Mississippi.  They say you can sweat just standing still, which they are not doing.  They are sleeping on the floor of the West Laurel United Methodist Church.

Missouri United Methodist Disaster Response Team
Left to right:  Don Covington, Tom Fogarty, Steve Cox, Richard, Mark Dumas, Marny Meserve, Bob
Carpenter, Karen Benson, Greg Olsen, Max Marble, Jim Mills, Karen Gordy-Panhorst, Joe Batelsmeyer

Karen Benson (far left) serves as our Conference Disaster Response Coordinator.


Help staff a Volunteer Reception Center after a Missouri disaster-Click here

VIM CELEBRATION – UMCOR Director – Keynote Speaker
Paul Dirdak, Director, UMCOR

Paul Dirdak was the keynote speaker at the VIM Celebration in Columbia, Missouri on Saturday, March 5.  He spoke about his recent trip to the tsunami disaster area and shared how the United Methodist Church is responding.  During one of his workshops he lifted up the need for IMA Medicine Boxes.  At Annual Conference this year the “Bring It Forward Offering” will include requests for IMA Medicine Boxes.  We are also receiving health kits and school kits for tsunami relief.  Click here to receive information about this Annual Conference and make plans for receiving it in your local church sometime between now and Annual Conference.


This tragic personal tsunami story is a microcosm of many similar stories.  It was received by Max Marble from a friend of a friend of this family in South India.  As our hearts go out to these victims may we show extravagant generosity so that through UMCOR we can show the love of Jesus Christ and show that we indeed are a church that cares.
Paramesvaran Family Picture Taken At Christmas, Kadambadi, India

It was 26th December 2004. I woke up and my last son wished me ‘Happy Birthday’. My second daughter said ‘Wishing you many more happy returns of the day’ and the eldest daughter came with a cup of boost and said ‘Wishing you many more birthdays’. As we live very close to the shore, the children and the relatives who came home for Christmas wanted to go to the beach. We went to the beach deciding to get back soon since Karunya insisted we go to church. The sea was like any other day – very calm and pleasant.

Walking and playing on the beach is part of our daily routine, in the mornings and evenings. We were playing with a flying disc for about 10 minutes against the background of the sea. My son Kirubasan (5) suddenly called out – “Daddy, Daddy, look at the sea!”. I saw the sea rise to a height of about 50 feet in less than a second. Something very unusual. We began running in fear. My son was holding my hands as we ran. We couldn’t match the speed of the water that travelled at 500 km/hr. In seconds it threw us and I found myself and my son go up and come down. I could hear my son cry “Daddy, Daddy” as he was drowning. The second wave threw us apart. My son probably thought that I would save him but I was helpless. I found myself about 750 metres from the shore. I tried my level best to get hold of the palm trees, but the waves didn’t let me to do so. Finally, I got hold of a tree after I saw a wall crumble and took a long deep breath. I climbed up the tree as the water level rose. I survived.

I came down from the tree and went to search for my children and relatives. I found my eldest daughter on the railway track, Rakshanya (12) lying dead. I took her body and brought her home. I found the bodies of three of my relations. While I was still searching someone told me that there was a little boy 2 kms away. I went there and found my son lying dead.

I returned to search for my other daughter and found another relation. After about three hours of searching I heard of a girl lying in a bush. That was my daughter Karunya (9). By that time there was a second Tsunami wave. I along with my nephew carrying the body of my daughter ran home. We barely made it. It was evening. My day went in searching for the bodies. I found seven out of ten. By then, the city was gripped with fear and almost 75% of the inhabitants left the city.

We gave them a bath and dressed them up. I sent my nephew to get a few wreaths of flowers. There was no shop open. So I couldn’t even put some flowers for them. We couldn’t find a single person to dig a grave or attend the funeral. As a father, I dug the grave myself and placed my children inside and closed the grave with sand.


Bishop Sherer and Wesley Hirsh picking up debris in Stockton, Missouri.