In the wake of the tornadoes that devasted sections of Western Massachusetts on June 1st, the MACUCC Disaster Response Coordinators issued the following statement:
This afternoon and evening a storm line swept through our region bringing an outbreak of tornados. Two have been confirmed as of 10 pm this evening with a suspicion it may be closer to 5 or more. Four deaths have been confirmed with numerous injuries. As daylight returns, the impact will be more clearly seen and assessed.
Folks often want to respond quickly to aid victims. We see compelling stories and images on TV. But with that impulse often comes help that is not helpful. Folks hop in their cars and drive to view the area and offer assistance. Others want to bring or send food and supplies. There is a very efficient and effective system in place for disasters. And though nothing happens in disaster response without complications, emergency first responders and disaster agencies will be on the ground setting up assistance for victims and families. Too often people with the best of intentions arrive and get in the way of these efforts or add confusion, clutter and complications with their desire to be able to be helpful.
The best way to help sometimes feels counterintuitive: Stay Put! The rest of it should seem natural: Pray! When help is needed official requests will come from State, Federal and Disaster related agencies. Media will relay official channels for sending or providing assitance that won't overwhelm the victims or those tasked with providing aid. Our Conference website [Tiffany add web address here] will have updates on needs that arise in and through our UCC churches in the region, our Conference Staff and our MACUCC Disaster Resonse Team. We'll also send emails out with updates. Be assured that your help will be needed. Our responsibility and challenge as a people of covenant will be to hang in their with our brothers and sisters for the long haul, long after the media has moved on to other stories.
So, for the moment lets hold each other in prayer.
In Christ's Peace
Rev. Don Remick
Rev Jim Tilbe
MACUCC Disaster Response Team Coordinators