North America

Adventist Community Services Disaster Relief provides help to Hurricane Florence victims

Disaster Relief unit of ACS working with other relief agencies, local government.

Columbia, Maryland, United States | Kimberly Luste Maran, NAD communication department

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. “We appreciate the help ADRA has offered,” W. Derrick Lea, ACS Disaster Response (DR) director for the North American Division, said today. “Financial support is there; we are working on solidifying the program so we can help most effectively.”

ACS DR in both South Atlantic and Carolina conferences 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,” said Lea 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 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. They have provided 200 sleeping cots; needs assessment will continue in order to provide 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 Sept. 18, ACS was also asked by Hanover County to manage 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,” said Lea. 

Twelve families from North Carolina are sheltering at the University of Maryland in College Park after their homes were affected by Florence. Maryland DHS 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 this weekend, until the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) relocates them to hotels. Potomac Conference ACS has been asked to assist in efforts.