Even as search and rescue efforts continue following last week's devastating earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador, UCC Disaster Ministries has begun its response with grants totaling $12,500 for relief efforts in Japan, and $17,500 for Ecuador. "I fully expect that we will be engaged for the long term, especially in Ecuador where there has been significant damage throughout the country," said UCC Disaster Ministries Executive Zach Wolgemuth.
UCC Disaster Ministries is contributing $5,000 to an innovative, increasingly ecumenical "Bridge Project" in southwestern West Virginia that is restoring access and safety to residents whose small "private access" bridges were washed out by severe flooding last spring. The floods damaged or destroyed 1,000 homes, also washing out 300 "private access" bridges, forcing people to take inconvenient detours at best, or to risk dangerous crossings at worse.
It's been five years since Japan's triple disaster - earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor meltdown - killed about 16,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands of others. The United Church of Christ has provided more than $1 million in recovery assistance. Two ministry partners from Japan just visited the United Church of Christ to share updates on their post-disaster work, which is ongoing.
Heavy rain Monday and Tuesday and now Tropical Cyclone Zena are adding insult to the injury Fiji suffered from Tropical Cyclone Winston in February. Thousands of Winston survivors are once again in emergency shelters across the country. UCC Disaster Ministries is monitoring the impact of the latest storms even as it undertakes important repairs in Navakawu.
The story of UCC Disaster Ministries' food aid to a small Fijian island in the wake of Cyclone Winston illustrates the denomination's commitment to stepping up to fill critical gaps. The aid was delivered earlier this week to Kioa Island, whose root crops were destroyed by the severe (Category 5) tropical cyclone - the strongest ever to make landfall in Fiji.
This is UCC Disaster Ministries' "index page" with information about Tropical Cyclone Winston's impact on Fiji and how the United Church of Christ is helping with disaster relief and recovery. Page recently updated with news from Global Ministries long-term volunteer the Rev. Nikotema Sopepa on two new disaster response task forces within the Fiji Conference of Churches.
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.