Anely Latalladi Ortega thought her home was safe before Hurricane Maria left flood waters that devastated her home and community. Before Maria, "where I lived was not in a flood zone. It had never flooded. I felt fortunate. My worry in those early days was for others who weren’t as lucky", she shared. "I applied for a job with FEMA and started working the week before Thanksgiving. This job has given me a great sense of satisfaction because I can use my skills and experience to contribute in the recovery of my beloved Puerto Rico."
Mr. Wondimu Yunka lives with his family in the village of Lela Honcho, located a few kilometers from the town of Chuko, Ethiopia. Through participation in a sustainable agricultural program, he has learned many techniques that have increased the success of his farm, and with other farmers in his community. The 4 simple techniques are simple and have had proven results.
Moms in Nicaragua are learning the importance of nutrition in the lives of their babies. According to the Nicaragua Río Coco program, the first 1,000 days of babies’ lives are the most critical for the healthy development of their bodies and minds. Understanding the nutritional importance of breastfeeding, when and how to start a baby on solid food, and what to do if a child is malnourished are key factors in improving the health of the mother, child and the entire family.
A UCC Disaster Ministries solidarity grant is helping international students at the Kanana Fou Theological Seminary in American Samoa replace essential school supplies and basic furnishings they lost to wind and water damage from powerful Cyclone Gita in February.
In partnership with the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Puerto Rico, UCC Disaster Ministries is helping people on that hurricane-battered island to build back better and for the long term through development of a Social Action and Emergency Action ministry and deployment of volunteer work teams, being recruited now for deployment beginning June 1.
Ever since severe floods in 2016 washed away their small bridge across the creek in front of their home, an older West Virginia couple used an extension ladder to get out to the grocery store and doctor’s office. Today, the couple can cross the creek safely on a simple, sturdy new bridge – the 50th completed in West Virginia in just over two years in an innovative project of the United Church of Christ and other members of W. Va. Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
In India like in most places, people infected with HIV suffer from stigmatization and isolation. Successfully building a micro business system there had potential to transform lives. In partnership with the Positive Women Network and ECLOF, two workshops were conducted in India on entrepreneurship and business management for HIV-affected women. One of the best outcomes of the meeting was the 55 participants found a place in their community that provides support to them and their families.
Yaribel Davila had to evacuate her apartment in Port Arthur, Texas, last August when flood waters caused by Hurricane Harvey came in up to her knees. UCC Disaster Ministries is partnering with the Southeast Texas Community Development Corporation (SET CDC) to restore her apartment and 16 others that suffered similar damage. The UCC’s Amanda Sheldon interviewed Ms. Davila.
In the six months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, UCC Disaster Ministries has been providing critical supplies and helping Puerto Ricans develop a long-term strategic plan for recovery. Soon, volunteer work teams will be deployed.
In a rural community in Cambodia, the only water available had been from a shallow, hand-dug well. Each day during the rainy season, a grandmother named Som Bee would walk to the well to collect the water for her family. Today they are healthier because you helped provide access to clean water.
Gather your disaster recovery volunteer mission group to give a week of service in Puerto Rico. Sign up now to receive an email notification when registration opens in April. Beginning June 2018, groups serve in Puerto Rico for one-week periods.
UCC Disaster Ministries is celebrating the fulfillment of its promise of $200,000 for construction of new, permanent, earthquake-resistant homes in Nepal. The UCC’s last installment of $50,000 was sent recently. Thanks to careful stewardship, the funds will complete more than 50 homes for some of the most vulnerable survivors of the two powerful earthquakes in 2015 that left nearly 9,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands of homes destroyed or damaged.
As a small community more than 1,000 miles from the contiguous United States, with at least 40 percent of the population at or below the poverty line, the U.S. Virgin Islands are facing significant recovery challenges following last year’s Hurricanes Irma and Maria. A $212,000 grant from the Fund for the Virgin Islands (FFVI) through the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands will support faster, better long-term recovery.
“ACT members are rooted in the communities that they serve. They see first-hand how women have been victims of many layers of marginalization based on their race, age, religion, sexual orientation, health, socioeconomic status etc.,” says Emilie Weiderud, Co-chair of the ACT Alliance Gender Equality and Justice Community of Practice.
Volunteers at UCC Disaster Ministries' new work site in Port Arthur, Texas, are helping restore Hurricane Harvey-devastated homes for 17 low- to moderate-income renters. As they help bring individuals and families to sustainability, their hearts are being touched by the community's enormous challenges, rich history and deep Christian faith.
When Hurricane Harvey flooded 17 of 19 affordable housing units managed by the Southeast Texas Community Development Corporation (SETCDC) in Port Arthur, Texas, tenants fled and stopped paying rent. Three displaced tenants were in really bad situations and urgently needed to get back home. SETCDC managed to rehabilitate those properties, depleting its reserve. But until UCC Disaster Ministries offered support, they didn’t know where they would get the resources to rehab the remaining 14 units.
Children are receiving assistance from a local Association to help combat poverty, and limited access to educational opportunities in Laos
When you are an immigrant and disaster strikes, where do you turn for help? In Northern California, after the wildfires of last October, hundreds of Spanish speaking and other especially vulnerable survivors have been turning to First Congregational Church UCC of Sonoma (FCCS), a leading safe "go to" place, with support from UCC Disaster Ministries.
Rebeca and Nestor are promoting peace in their communities thanks to rooftop rainwater harvesting. Conflicts over land and water rights between indigenous people and “criollo” settlers have been a reality for nearly 100 years in the Argentine and Bolivian Chaco. Today, the settlers are as poor as their indigenous neighbors, and the existence of both groups is threatened by frequent six-month droughts. As Nestor puts it, “When it comes to water, there is no difference between us.”
Two years ago this month, Sepa and his wife Josivini had cause to wonder whether they and their neighbors would live or die as Cyclone Winston roared across their Fiji Islands community of Navakawau, on Taveuni Island, blowing away 96 of the village’s 111 homes, including theirs. Thanks to UCC Disaster Ministries, they had shelter in the community hall while they rebuilt their home - and now, reliable drinking water and a new health center.
Six members of St. Paul's UCC in St. Louis, Mo., spent a week in a Harvey-battered neighborhood of Houston late last year replacing a homeowner's flood-soaked drywall and retrofitting the bathroom to make it handicapped accessible. Pastor Mike Roth shares some of the group's thought-provoking learnings.
United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries continues to be at the helm of outreach to the thousands of Puerto Ricans who have sought shelter in Pennsylvania since Hurricane Maria wreaked death and destruction across their island in late September 2017. Work that began at a Disaster Assistance Services Center in Philadelphia is now rolling out to seven other Pennsylvania cities through a series of resource fairs.
In 2015, Luisa joined a 5-year agricultural project through the Council of Protestant Churches of Nicaragua (CEPAD). With farmers like Luisa, CEPAD is working to improve lives through planting seeds that will bear abundant fruit for today, tomorrow, and years to come. With God’s help, these seeds will bear far more than we imagine.
Ecumenical Accompaniment Program participants live in the West Bank for three months and provide support to vulnerable communities, monitor and report human rights abuses and connect with Palestinians and Israelis working together for a just peace. In the United States, EAPPI is supported by churches in partnership with Church World Service (CWS) and welcomes engagement from a wide range of churches, agencies and individuals
Christians are called to be present and to be healers where there are breaks and cracks in the world. Where more than welcoming people fleeing violence and assisting people who have lost everything to disaster? "Those are among the rawest breaks in our world," says Amanda Sheldon, the UCC's new National Disaster and Refugee Ministries Program Associate (since January 16).
With a wealth of arts and culture, the Institute for Interfaith Dialogue in Indonesia has begun impacting the peace movement, and is hoping to see results that will restore the memory of the people to tranquility and peace as a nation. They are committed to the idea that art and culture is a manifesto of the peaceful situation that every generation has aspired to achieve, making it the duty of all its citizens to keep for the future of the nation.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans in the United States. This decision follows the recent TPS terminations for Sudan, Nicaragua, and Haiti, and is yet another attack on immigrant communities. TPS is a program designed to protect people from being returned to harm - precisely the conditions El Salvador faces today, including gang conscription, sexual violence, and human trafficking. As a nation, we promised to protect nearly 200,000 Salvadoran neighbors by allowing them to remain in the United States.
Join us in urging the administration to restore El Salvador's TPS designation, and calling on Congress to pass a permanent legislative solution for all TPS holders. Click here for our Interfaith Toolkit: 5 Ways to Take Action in the New Year.
Two participants from a remote mountain community tell what your support has meant to them:
Working together as a community, they are reducing poverty, improving nutrition and food security, improving homes with energy-efficient stoves, latrines and water-storage facilities, and replacing dirt floors with cement. The overall project is part of Foods Resources Bank's Honduras-Nueva Frontera program, supported by your gifts to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.
Romana and Juliana received the simple gift of a piglet that has changed the fortunes of these two mothers. And they, in turn, are “paying it forward,” enabling 10 neighboring families to make life-changing improvements to their circumstances as well.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria wiped out water treatment systems in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, leaving people without clean drinking water. According to the Department of Defense, 55% of Puerto Rico was left without clean drinking water. Your help is needed. One $20 filter ensures 1 million gallons of fresh water!
The saying, “Peace in the Middle East” has been around for years. And today, through the Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue (FDCD), men, women and youth are participating in Peacebuilding and conflict resolution activities around Lebanon, making peace possible.
UCC Disaster Ministries has just contributed $10,000 toward a proactive program to prevent cholera and malnutrition in Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Irma, and to treat any instances that occur. The implementing partner is IMA World Health, which has had a significant presence in Haiti since 1998, including relationships with government and communities.
Want to help survivors of Hurricane Irma in the U.S. and Caribbean? Keep an eye on the UCC's main "Harvey response page" for information and resources. Updated regularly!
Want to help survivors of Hurricane Harvey? Keep an eye on the UCC's main "Harvey response page" for information and resources. Updated regularly!
United Church of Disaster Ministries teams are reaching out to pastors and congregations across the entire peninsula of South Florida, as all involved try to assess the damage left behind by Hurricane Irma. "Our denomination helps those nobody else is going to help. That process takes time to identify," said the Rev. Alan Coe, UCC Florida Conference disaster coordinator.
The UCC Disaster Ministries team is being stretched this week, effectively responding to two devastating hurricanes — the aftermath of Harvey and horrific floods on the ground in Texas and Louisiana, and the current chaos Irma is bringing, leaving unprecedented destruction and a rising death toll in the Caribbean, with a pending strike of South Florida.
Linked from our main "Harvey" web page are the information and resources you'll need to support your congregation's Harvey response. You'll find the latest on Harvey's toll and UCC Disaster Ministries' response, including the Harvey Emergency Appeal, how you can best help right now, a congregational bulletin insert, prayers and a new hymn. A similar page is being developed for Irma response.
The United Church of Christ has launched an emergency appeal to help with long term recovery following Hurricane Harvey - a monster storm that has already displaced thousands and continues to dump heavy rain on Texas and Louisiana. Cash is the best way to help right now. Zach Wolgemuth, executive, UCC Disaster Ministries, said, "Evacuations, search and rescue are still underway and volunteers living outside the region are being advised to not travel."
As the Syrian conflict enters its seventh year, the situation continues to be critical. The camps are over-crowded, and the resources as limited as they are, are being stretched to help as many folk as possible. Organizations like the Orthodox Initiative are doing all they can to provide refugees in the camp with the essentials required to start a new life away from home.
When living in desert-like conditions, the need for new summer clothes goes beyond looking or feeling good. As the temperatures rise, adults and children must be covered by the right fabric, and have enough hats and other items for their protection from the sun and comfort in the heat.
On Monday, August 14, a chunk of mountain came down under the force of rain, onto the houses that hugged the slopes of Mount Sugar Loaf about five miles outside the capital Freetown, Sierra Leone, according to government officials and aid agencies.
The House of Hope Haiti is excited about a new project that will eventually become a four-year program to teach ways to treat water in developing countries.
More than two years after the devastating 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, some remote communities are still struggling to repair critical water infrastructure for drinking and crop irrigation. To help, UCC Disaster Ministries has just released $49,818 for two such communities, Kitini Thala and Chitlang. This brings to nearly $290,000 ($289,818) the ministries' funding to date for earthquake recovery in Nepal, mostly for construction of earthquake-resistant housing but also for water systems.
For two struggling families – the Kaipats and the Roppuls – an $11,600 grant from UCC Disaster Ministries will mean recovery at last, two years after the powerful Typhoon Soudelor passed directly across their western Pacific island of Saipan, part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Meet three of the nearly three dozen Daytona Beach-area homeowners who are waiting anxiously for volunteer work teams to help them repair damage from Hurricane Matthew last October. UCC Disaster Ministries is partnering with VIND (Volusia Interfaiths/Agencies Networking in Disasters) to recruit and deploy volunteer work teams to help these and other Volusia County, Fla., Hurricane Matthew survivors recover.
Tens of thousands of homes were damaged in North Carolina by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. The toll included 24 dead, with the destruction calculated in billions of dollars. Thousands of people were displaced; some are still sheltering in hotels. It was one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit the state. And the United Church of Christ has been present and visible from the very start of relief and recovery efforts, providing financial assistance and know-how to help local communities identify and respond to unmet needs.
“We do not offer “before” pictures of the terrible state people are in when they reach us. Each refugee has a story of heartbreak, but thanks to the support of caring people, each story becomes one of hope as we nurture them in Christian love, so they can smile again.”
~Rev. Pereira, Director of Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries.
It rained almost constantly the last 10 or 12 days nearing the end of the rainy season in Timor. That has meant, among other things, that the municipal water supply resembled what you see when you look at a mud puddle. In fact, local authorities turned off the water supply. Why have a faucet if, what comes out is muddy?
Are your family and your church congregation prepared if disaster strikes? Whether your answer is "no" and you have no idea where to start or you already have your emergency supplies stocked, you are sure to find a great deal of helpful information in UCC Disaster Ministries' new Disaster Preparedness Guide.