Adventist Community Services (ACS) is working with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and other disaster relief groups to help victims of Hurricane Florence in the United States. “We appreciate the help ADRA has offered,” W. Derrick Lea, ACS Disaster Response (DR) director for the North American Division, said on September 19, 2018. “Financial support is there; we are working on solidifying the program so that we can help most effectively.”
ACS DR in both South Atlantic and Carolina Conference church regions were mobilized before Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina coast on Friday, September 14. “Flood buckets are in place throughout each [affected] state, personal care kits are available and ready for use, and warehousing agreements are in place,” Lea said in a preparedness report. “Our teams await the exact location for operations to begin.”
The aftermath of Florence, which included 32 storm-related deaths (25 in North Carolina, six in South Carolina, and one in Virginia), has caused tens of thousands to be displaced from their homes due to flooding and loss of power.
South Atlantic Conference has provided temporary shelter at River Oaks Camp in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The American Red Cross is also partnering with ACS DR, providing 200 sleeping cots; through needs assessment that organization will contribute additional help as necessary.
As residents begin the process of returning to homes and businesses, Carolina Conference is providing flood buckets filled with supplies to residents to assist in the storm clean-up. ACS DR is working to provide gift cards along with the buckets.
On September 18, ACS was asked by Hanover County officials to manage a warehouse for Wilmington, North Carolina, one of the hardest-hit areas. “They sustained a lot of damage, and right now we’re looking for a warehouse facility,” Lea said.
Twelve families from North Carolina are sheltering at the University of Maryland in College Park after their homes were affected by Florence. Maryland Department of Human Services requested that ACS help with spiritual care, as well as supervised child care for the children. These families will remain at the university at least until the weekend, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) relocates them to hotels. It has been reported that Potomac Conference ACS has been asked to assist in those efforts.