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The National Council of Churches joins in prayer and solidarity with the people of Florida who were nearly universally affected by Hurricane Irma over the weekend of September 9-10, 2017.  Many experienced loss of property, most experienced trauma and some will be putting their lives back together months or even years from now.

We are grateful that in the United States, this hurricane was not as catastrophic as forecasts predicted.  However, we are cognizant that numerous Caribbean islands, including Cuba and Puerto Rico, experienced extreme devastation. We are especially mindful of the poor and marginalized inhabitants of affected islands. We hold our sisters and brothers in the Caribbean in prayer as they cope with Hurricane Irma and its aftermath.

We are grateful that our churches remain strong in the midst of this disaster, and that denominational and faith-based relief agencies are already hard at work responding to this latest catastrophe.  It is a testament to their faithfulness that warehouses are stocked, volunteers are mobilized, and leaders are prepared to address the devastation left behind in Florida and other areas.

This, and the destruction left behind by Harvey will require years of recovery.  We appreciate Congress’s attention to providing aid to these areas and ask that the various agencies charged with forecasting and responding to these disasters be funded at levels appropriate to the scale of the devastation.

We note that these disasters carry long-term consequences.  We call upon local, state, and federal authorities to plan for a future in which these risks are minimized. We also call upon our churches to play a key role in communicating the needs of individuals and communities to government authorities.  

And finally, we encourage people of faith everywhere to support the relief agencies of their communion with their time, talents, and financial resources.