UCC Disaster Ministries and the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Puerto Rico (IEUPR) have completed the restoration of 105 Maria-damaged homes to date, especially the repair of roofs, with the help of 420 volunteers. Immediate goal: by June 2020, restore 45 more roofs wait-listed to be fixed to bring the total to 150. UCC Disaster Ministries will continue to support recovery efforts as long as financial resources allow. Give/volunteer!
In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, UCC Disaster Ministries is assessing how it can best contribute to long-term recovery in the Bahamas. Its early support includes $15,000 to support care for 25 orphaned, abused, neglected or abandoned children evacuated from Grand Bahama after Hurricane Dorian destroyed the Children's Home there.
It's a gift that keeps on giving! UCC Disaster Ministries' initial investment of $200,000 has built earthquake-resistant homes for 53 vulnerable families who survived the devastating 2015 earthquakes in Nepal. The families are paying back interest-free loans into a revolving fund, already used to build 20 more homes. Now the UCC has just sent an additional $40,000 for yet more homes!
$15,000 from UCC Disaster Ministries will fund 12 months of resiliency training for an entire village in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, which a year ago (September 28, 2018) suffered a massively destructive earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 2,000 people and displaced tens of thousands. The goal is to build communities with independent ability to avoid danger, adapt to disaster risks and recover quickly.
National Preparedness Month is recognized each September to promote family and community disaster and emergency planning now and throughout the year. The 2019 theme is "Prepared, Not Scared." Visit ready.gov/september for an abundance of resources useful for promoting preparedness all year long. And don't forget UCC Disaster Ministries' Disaster Preparedness Manual for Churches.
In this commentary for National Preparedness Month, UCC Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth explored how the plethora of disasters that we've already experienced in 2019 is yet another wake-up call for all of us to have a preparedness plan and kit in place.
There's a lot you can do right now!
UCC Disaster Ministries is supporting an ecumenical Rapid Assessment Team to the Bahamas with funds and technical expertise. The team will identify needs of the affected population; assess local capacities to respond, including those of churches, and provide recommendations for response through the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches of which the UCC is a member.
When natural disasters go to work destroying cities, towns, and villages, people across the world want to help. Natural disasters can do lots of harm, people don’t know how to help, and there is a certain way you should help after a natural disaster. People think sending food and old clothing could help those who have lost everything but the truth is, the people who are sending those items are just making situations worse. Guest column by Myla, 12, a UCC member in Pennsylvania, based on her research of disaster recovery.