Estimated to be second only to Hurricane Katrina in cost, officials are still learning the true scope of death and destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy. The death toll climbed to 98 people at last report, while media outlets are now filled with images of wiped out neighborhoods, flooded subways and streets, destroyed homes and hurting people.
The New York, New Jersey and Spanish Eastern districts of the Assemblies of God have all reported churches experiencing heavy loss due to Superstorm Sandy, but still have not heard from some churches. Certain areas of all three of these districts, people are still not permitted to enter. Also, with the lack of power and damage done to land phone lines and cell phone towers have made connecting with churches a challenge.
So far, the Convoy of Hope has distributed more than 60 tons of relief supplies in the hard-hit areas of New York and New Jersey, the international humanitarian relief organization reported in a press release. Items including food, water, blankets and cleaning supplies have been distributed in several communities in the Long Beach, Staten Island and Pleasant Point areas in New York; as well as Bayonne and Jersey City in New Jersey.
With more trucks already en route from its headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, by the end of the weekend, Convoy of Hope expects to have distributed a total of 100 tons of relief supplies to victims of the superstorm.
The New Jersey District (Superintendent Carl Colletti) is working with Convoy of Hope to get relief supplies to victims in its district. The district also has a team from Christ In Action from the Potomac District working on tree removal and clean-up.
The district has had confirmed reports of damage to the following churches:
* Bayonne - First Assembly of God has heavy water damage, with chemicals in the water.
* Jersey City -The Hope Center Tabernacle (home to at least two AG churches), Riverside AG, God is Love Ministries (AG) and New Jerusalem AG (a Haitian church) all have flood damage.
* Asbury Park - Mount Zion AG has significant flooding.
* Englishtown - Crossroads AG was hit by a falling tree, resulting in a large hole in the roof.
* Middlesex - Christian Life Church (AG) has wind and rain damage
According to the district office, about 70 percent of Jersey City is flooded and there have been reports of chemicals leaking (possibly oil) into the floodwaters, causing even greater damage and potential health risks.
The New York District (Superintendent Duane Durst) reports that the following churches have reported damages:
* Bellmore - Neighborhood AG has flood damage.
* Island Park - Full Gospel AG has flood damage.
* Queens - Howard Beach Assembly of God has flood damage.
* Staten Island - Calvary AG and a second church have reported minor wind and water damage.
* Hicksville - The Point Church lost a portion of its roof and has water damage.
Convoy of Hope is also working with the New York District and delivering relief supplies in several locations.
The Spanish Eastern District (Superintendent Rafael Reyes) overlaps the New Jersey and New York districts. The district office reports several Hispanic churches have experienced significant damages:
* Hoboken, New Jersey - Iglesia Pentecostal Antioquia has flood damage.
* Brooklyn, New York - Spanish Coney Island Tabernacle has extreme flood damage.
* Oceanside, New York - Iglesia Arca de Salvacion has flood damage.
* Brooklyn, New York - Iglesia Rey de Reyes has flood damage.
All three districts say that they have still not heard from all of their pastors in the impacted areas and that many pastors and church members have had their homes damaged or destroyed by flood waters..
To give to the Sandy Disaster Relief fund, click here. To watch a video message from Dr. George O. Wood, click this link. Checks may also be sent to the General Council of the Assemblies of God, 1445 N. Boonville Ave., Springfield, MO 65802 and write "Sandy Disaster Relief" in the memo line.