Methodist Church grants £18,000 to victims of Hurricane Sandy

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The Methodist Church in Britain has agreed a grant of £18,000 inaid to support communities struggling in the aftermath of HurricaneSandy. 

The grants made from the Church's World Mission Fund will go tochurches in Cuba and Haiti to help them rebuild their communitiesfollowing the storm that has also wreaked havoc across the eastcoast of the United States. The United Methodist Committee onRelief's hurricane appeal will receive £3,000 to aid relief inthe States.

David Friswell, Leader of World Church Relationships, said: "Wehave heard a great deal about the terrible impact of HurricaneSandy in the United States, but our greatest concern is for thosecommunities in the Caribbean not seen on our TV screens. Theseplaces lack the resources to deal with such disasters which leavepeople without the basics of food and shelter. Working throughPartner Churches these emergency funds will mean that help can begiven where it is needed most."

Hurricane Sandy battered Jamaica, Cuba, the Bahamas and affectedHaiti and the Dominican Republic when it struck last week.  InHaiti, which is still recovering from the 2010 earthquake, thestreets of Port au Prince, recently cleared of rubble, wereinundated with metres of water. In that region, the storm killed 58people and left thousands without homes or livelihoods.

John and Sharon Harbottle, mission partners working in Haiti,said: "Travelling home from Jérémie, the capital city of theGrand'Anse department where we had been sheltering, we passed onedevastated village after another. There was so much crop damage.Fields of maize lay flattened by the torrential rain, plantationsof sugar cane resembled rice paddies, and whole banana trees weresubmerged by swollen rivers that had burst their banks. Familiesspread their belongings out to dry on every available bush, sweptthe mud that had washed through their homes and stood and stared attheir lost crops."

In Jamaica, the Revd George Mulrain reported that there had beensevere flooding. "Kintyre, where we have a church, has been cut offcompletely," he said. "The water in the river bed rose to the levelof the road. Several roads are impassable due to trees that fell.In our area, like most of the country, we are withoutelectricity."

Bishop Pereira of the Methodist Church in Cuba also reported onthe damage. "Santiago de Cuba province reports that many houseshave collapsed and the Wesley Church has been damaged too," hesaid. "Many churches have been destroyed. Communication is verydifficult. Through cell phones we have received reports that thetown Arroyo Blanco in North Holguin was devastated, including thechurch where the storm ripped the roof off the parsonage. Thecommunity in Alcala, also in Holguin, reported the same thing. Weare asking for prayers. We are doing our best to reach the affectedareas as soon as possible."

In the Bahamas, mission partners Eddie and Susan Sykes said thathurricane shutters had been erected and that people were preparingfor the full impact of 100 mph winds.