It's been five years since Japan's triple disaster killed about 16,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands of others. On this sorrowing anniversary, United Church of Christ leaders, disaster executives, and missionaries are calling for a time of hope and prayer to sustain the still-recovering nation and its people, who continue to endure hardships and adversity from the loss of life and livelihood related to the disaster.
When last October's heavy rains flooded the yard around her Columbia, S.C., mobile home, Richshanda G. thought she and her five-year-old daughter Mylon would be fine once the water receded. But when her home's floors began to buckle, and the wheels of her wheelchair started sinking in, Richshanda knew the water had caused serious damage to her home. That's when she reached out to the ecumenical Disaster Recovery Support Initiative.
With the most severe drought in almost three decades impacting lives across the dry landscape of Ethiopia, the United Church of Christ is acting to help the families at risk. UCC Disaster Ministries has sent a $10,000 grant to ACT Alliance, a world relief organization, to support ongoing food assistance, health and nutrition support, agriculture and livestock production, and safe drinking and bathroom water for 137,000 people.
As the death toll from the strongest cyclone to make landfall climbs again today and the full scope of the disaster in Fiji begins to unfold, United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries is responding with $7,000 to help put tens of thousands of affected people on the Pacific island nation back on their feet.
Natasha Naramore's passion is disaster recovery. "But sometimes when I talk with people about it, they roll their eyes and say, 'Let's talk about something happy,’" she said. Imagine her delight to spend three days in the company of more than a dozen people who share the same passion.
Five simple, economical "driveway bridges" have been completed for homeowners and eight more are ready to start except for funding in an innovative long-term recovery project following last spring's severe flooding in West Virginia. The United Church of Christ is among partners in the "Bridge Project" of the West Virginia VOAD, whose members collaborate on disaster recovery efforts.
Susan Heywood of Gilbert, S.C., had no trouble figuring out how to put a new roof on her house after last October's torrential rains damaged the old one. As she tore off the original shingles, felt and panels, she saw how the pieces fit together, then simply replaced them. But repairing the damage inside the house where the roof had leaked was another matter. A UCC Disaster Ministries volunteer work team got the job done.