by Rev. Laraine Waughtal* and Vance Morton**
The recent (and apparently ongoing) strings of Texas spring storms have delivered needed rain to much of the state. However, they have also brought tornadoes, strong straight-line winds, hail and, in some areas, too much of that good thing we call rain. The news reports, videos and photos from the communities most impacted probably has many of you wondering how and when the conference is going to respond and roll in with assistance. The answer is two-fold: we already are responding and hold your horses, we’ll let you know as soon as help is needed.
Here is what we currently know from the affected areas of our conference. As of this time, no conference-wide response is needed nor has any such action been requested. If you have other details and you are from that community, please email Laraine at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her through the conference office at 817-877-5222.
Mineral Wells - Reportedly there was little to no flooding or tornado damage to homes as the downtown area absorbed the brunt of the storm. Laraine continues to be in contact with local authorities and will provide updates as available/warranted.
Cisco –The needs of all the families are being met and they appreciate your prayers.
Corsicana and Ellis County – The flood waters are being monitored. There are limited needs but the community is able to meet those needs.
Morgan Mill – ERT teams have been working in this community to clean up the debris field and the situation is under control.
Hillsboro – all is well.
Much of the flooding being reported does not involve any homes. Our CTC communities have been quite blessed that the storm damage has not been more extensive.
How the CTC Responds to Disaster
From the time a disaster happens and is made known, the CTC is in response mode. The CTC Disaster Response Coordinator, Laraine Waughtal, and the members of the Disaster Task Force begin monitoring the situations in our communities and across the state and the South Central Jurisdiction for that matter. They are in contact with city, county and state officials, our churches in the affected area and myriad others to learn first hand how we, as United Methodists, can be the hands and feet of Christ. Because the scene of a disaster is just that, a disaster, often times the immediate answer is "We'll let you know what we need as soon as we know."
Sometimes, the hardest part of disaster response is balancing what is being reported by media and what is actually happening on the ground. Watching the TV and reading online reports and Tweets can be deceiving about the scope of a disaster area, because often the details being reported are not complete or accurate.
However, our trained ERT and Disaster Response team members are in contact with those who do know what’s going on. As such, individuals and churches are reminded to be patient and don’t immediately respond to what you are seeing and hearing in the news. Of course that’s a big ask for compassionate christians living in a 24-hour news cycle society, where reporters too often employ the “we have to be first with the story and we’ll get to the actual facts of the situation much later” method of (ahem) journalism. Just try and remember the following before you head to the nearest big box discount warehouse store to buy pallets of bottled water for those in need. By the time you hear of a disaster, the CTC Disaster Response team is