Hurricane Irma has dissipated after killing 12 Americans and doing about $50 billion worth of damage. The islands of the Caribbean suffered even more, with 36 dead, major devastation, and now in St. Martin utter lawlessness, as looters plunder what’s left of businesses and terrorize survivors. But the hurricane’s toll could have been much worse. And faith-based organizations are leading the relief effort.
Hurricane Irma was headed to the U.S. mainland as a Category 5 storm, aimed right at Florida’s most populous areas. But then it made a minor jag of only 20 miles. This nudged the hurricane westward, sending it over northern Cuba and around the tip of Florida with the land cutting its power, and caused it to hit the less populous parts of Florida as a Category 4, soon downgrading to a Category 2.
That difference of 20 miles, experts are saying, may have saved $150 billion. They are crediting the Bermuda High, a high-pressure cell over Bermuda. They probably can’t factor in prayer.Now comes the clean-up. The evacuees are returning, in many cases to a nightmare. Not only Florida but Georgia and the Carolinas suffered significant flooding. But the electric companies have already restored power to at least 40% of the Florida residents who have lost power.
Key to the relief efforts are faith-based organizations, such as Samaritan’s Purse, LCMS Disaster Response, and other denominational initiatives. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) co-ordinates the disaster response, but Christian ministries are providing much of the manpower, supplies, and person-to-person help.
In fact, a chief coordinator of volunteer groups, Greg Forrester, says, “About 80% of all recovery happens because of non-profits, and the majority of them are faith-based.” See Hurricane Irma: Faith groups hold key roles in disaster recovery for what these organizations are doing.
Watch this video about what LCMS Disaster Relief is doing in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma:
Photo of Coast Guard aiding Hurricane Irma victims. Taken by Coast Guard. Public Domain.