Episcopal Relief & Development continues to support Episcopal dioceses in western states as they assess needs created by the record-breaking wildfires. These fires have destroyed millions of acres of land, homes and property, causing evacuations in many areas and creating unhealthy air quality throughout several states.
Since mid-August the organization’s US Disaster Program team has been in close contact with the Episcopal dioceses of El Camino Real, California, Los Angeles, Northern California, San Diego and San Joaquin, holding regular communication calls to assist partners in assessing needs and in deploying their disaster response plans. The team also reached out to dioceses beyond California as wildfires spread in other western states. Diocesan leaders have adapted existing disaster response plans to incorporate additional safety precautions to reduce the potential spread of the novel coronavirus. The economic and physical effects of the pandemic have already disproportionately affected marginalized communities, making the wildfires even more challenging.
“Our partners are continuing to monitor the fires and the air quality in their areas, and are reaching out to vulnerable groups to determine needs,” said Tamara Plummer, Program Officer, Episcopal Relief & Development. “Right now, we need to let the first responders make it safe before dioceses can begin to provide relief.”
There are three phases to a disaster – rescue, relief and recovery. Learn more about Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program and how the team responds to disasters, such as the wildfires, here. Contributions to the US Disaster Response Fund will help provide support to disasters such as these wildfires.