|UMCOR distributes relief supplies in Philippines|
A disaster response coordinator presents response plans during a
workshop at the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s office in
Cavite, Philippines, in this
July 2009 file photograph. A UMNS photo by Melissa Hinnen, UMCOR.
By Linda Bloom*
Oct. 2, 2009 | NEW YORK (UMNS)
United Methodists have been working to get emergency supplies to families affected Typhoon Ketsana in the Philippines.
“With the limited supplies we had on hand, we were able to supply
immediate relief to about 500 families,” reported Melissa Crutchfield,
the executive in charge of international disaster response for the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
Map courtesy of Wikipedia.
Volunteers are preparing supplies at UMCOR’s Philippines Office,
located on the campus of Union Theological Seminary in Cavite, about 50
miles south of Manila. They are assembling packets of rice, sardines,
coffee, oil, sugar, and special items for women and children to
distribute in evacuation centers. Some blankets also were available for
Church members in the United Methodist Manila Episcopal Area are collecting supplies as well, Crutchfield noted.
Nearly 2 million people in the Manila area were affected by the
flooding from the late September storm, which at one point left most of
the capital city under water and resulted in the deaths of nearly 300
people in the Philippines.
A second storm, Typhoon Parma, was heading toward the Philippines on
Oct. 2. “I think people are bracing themselves for the new storm this
weekend,” Crutchfield said. “We’re keeping a close eye on it.”
Representatives of UMCOR, Christian Aid and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines
met Oct. 1 to discuss how to handle relief work. The trio will appeal
to Action by Churches Together International for funding, she added.
Distribution at Harris Memorial College
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines reported on its Web
site that the organization would be distributing relief goods Oct. 2 in
the Rizal area in cooperation with United Methodist-related Harris
Memorial College. Supplies also have been distributed to three poor
urban communities in Metro Manila: Tatalon, Payatas and North Triangle.
Because the flooding in Metro Manila has received a lot of
attention, Crutchfield expects UMCOR will focus on bordering provinces,
such as Bulacan and Pampanga. Ciony Eduarte, who runs the UMCOR
Philippines office, will continue to coordinate relief efforts with
local partners, bishops and volunteers.
UMCOR conducted disaster relief training for Filipino United
Methodists over the summer. For three days before the office opened in
July, Crutchfield and Lisa Jackson, another staff executive, led
workshops on developing a disaster response plan with church
representatives from different regions of the Philippines.
Neglect worsens problems
In a letter to “all United Methodists,” Bishop Lito Cabacungan
Tangonan of the Manila Episcopal Area called for assistance. “The
calamity brought havoc to the lives of our people, and they need our
prayers, financial support and helping hands during this time of
calamity,” he wrote.
United Methodist Bishop Benjamin Justo told Ecumenical News
International that the massive damage from the floods was “primarily
caused by man's sins of social irresponsibility, neglect, opportunism,
laziness and lack of vision.”
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines has documented
cases of drainage systems being clogged with tons of garbage, mostly
plastics. It said the floods could hardly recede because of the blocked
waterways, ENI reported.
Donations to UMCOR’s relief work in the Philippines can be made through Philippines Emergency, UMCOR Advance #240235.
*Bloom is a UMNS news writer based in New York.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Storm-weary Philippines braces for Typhoon Parma
Philippines braces for new storm
Relief office in Philippines offers help, hope
United Methodist Committee on Relief
National Council of Churches in the Philippines
UMC-Manila Episcopal Area
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