In Nepal, last year's two powerful earthquakes damaged or destroyed many communities' water collection and distribution systems. They even moved or emptied many underground water sources as the earth shook and shifted. UCC Disaster Ministries has helped many communities repair or replace their water systems. Program Executive Zach Wolgemuth tells the story of one such community, in Nepal's Dhading District.
The contributions a local congregation can make to long-term recovery following a disaster that affected its area include not only "stuff," but also space and basic hospitality. Consider the example of Holy Apostles Orthodox Church in West Columbia, S.C., which suffered heavy rainfall and flooding last October. The church has been hosting disaster recovery work teams almost every week since January.
United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries is stepping up its support for West Virginia communities struggling to recover from their second "one in 1,000 years" flood in June. UCC Conference Disaster Coordinators Jim Ditzler (Ohio) and Karl Jones (Pennsylvania Southeast) are working with affected communities to establish long-term recovery groups and to lay the groundwork for eventual deployment of UCC work teams.
Parts of Louisiana received 30 inches of rain within three days in August, leaving 20 parishes in a state of emergency and stranding nearly 30,000 people. In all, over 12,000 needed to seek refuge in shelters, nearly a dozen died, and an estimated 40,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed in the Baton Rouge and Lafayette areas.
The disaster ministries of the Church of the Brethren, United Church of Christ, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have partnered to develop the Disaster Response Support Initiative (DRSI) and are seeking applicants for a Long-Term Recovery Group Formation Specialist. The application deadline has been extended to August 31.
FLINT OPENED EYES TO LEAD-TAINTED WATER SYSTEMS
Flint, Mich., is only one of thousands of U.S. communities with excessive lead levels in their water systems. In the third article of his series on infrastructure disasters, UCC Environmental Justice Ministries Minister Brooks Berndt examines the issue of water justice.
Residents of Sua, Ecuador, had already suffered damage to their homes and the loss of household furnishings and livestock to 4-foot-deep flooding in January when the April 2016 magnitude 7.8 earthquake added another layer of destruction. The back-to-back disasters greatly diminished coastal Sua's fishing and tourism industries, the community's economic base. With support from UCC Disaster Ministries, 33 Sua families will soon have access to flexible financing and training to help them resume their livelihoods.
Attention potential volunteers! South Carolina homeowners still struggling to recover from last fall's devastating floods need your help. Week-long work teams are being recruited now, especially and urgently for September and October. "We still have several survivors who can't afford hiring a contractor to repair their homes and are patiently waiting for help," said UCC Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth.
In his second of three articles about the importance of repairing our nation's crumbling infrastructure, UCC Environmental Justice Minister Brooks Berndt cites the Christian ethic "of the common good, the shared elements of life that allow for not only human survival but human fulfillment."
For 48-year-old Iraq veteran Robert Z. of West Columbia, S.C., buying a house was an important step in his years-long recovery from war-related post-traumatic stress disorder. But the storms of October 2015 caused damage that upset Robert's dreams - until UCC Disaster Ministries and its partners in the ecumenical Disaster Recovery Support Initiative stepped forward to help.