|UMCOR approves $4.7 million for tsunami work|
Sri Lankans displaced by the 2004 tsunami return home to
rebuild their houses and lives. The United Methodist Church is sending
an additional $4.7 million in aid to the area. A UMNS file photo by Paul
Jeffrey, Action by Churches Together.
By Linda Beher*
April 26, 2007 | STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS)
A young tsunami survivor stands amid the rubble in
Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, in this January 2005 file photo. A UMNS photo by
Paul Jeffrey, Action by Churches Together.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief is sending an additional
$4.7 million in aid to economically vulnerable Sri Lankans still finding
their footing after the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
The relief agency's board of directors approved the new money for the
Sri Lanka project April 24. The board convened during the spring
meeting of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, UMCOR's
The aid bolsters a "challenging, complex and often dangerous environment," according to the Sri Lanka request.
Bishop Edward W. Paup of the Pacific Northwest area, president of the
UMCOR board, praised the relief ministry's comprehensive approach.
"It’s not only about what we’re doing for individual families but how
our service will strengthen their sense of community," he said.
Included in the funding is $159,764 for upgrades to disaster response
capacity of the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka. Following UMCOR
protocol, the money will be disbursed based on actual spending in the
In another action, directors voted to provide aid to some 650
vulnerable families returning home to Kabul and Wardak in Afghanistan.
The $177,868 will be used to purchase livestock and provide training for
the families in animal husbandry as a means to earn a living. The funds
will close out the account "Love in the Midst of Tragedy," the United
Methodist response to recovery needs following the terrorist attacks on
Sept. 11, 2001.
A holistic response in Sri Lanka
Women and children, as well as displaced families and the elderly,
are struggling to rebuild in Sri Lanka while in the midst of civil
conflict that has intensified damage caused by the tsunami. Church funds
will supplement public grants to repair or build homes for some 150
families, many of them headed by women, as well as provide job training
or small loans to benefit another 8,000 families.
Congruent with UMCOR’s policy of providing holistic solutions in
disaster recovery, small-scale rehabilitation of vital community
services will be part of the program and will impact about 14,000
families in four towns.
Ibrahim Abbassayah rebuilds a house with Church
World Service support in the Pidie district of Indonesia. A UMNS photo
by Chris Herlinger, Church World Service.
Examples include increasing access to fresh drinking water, repairing
electrical networks and ensuring that schools have adequate sanitation
facilities. "These grants demonstrate the strength of UMCOR's
humanitarian presence in regions of the world that struggle to recover
from the losses of disasters," Paup said.
Banda Aceh Revitalization
The UMCOR board approved nearly $2.1 million for community
development in Banda Aceh in Indonesia, another area devastated by the
tsunami. Rebuilding homes continues to be a priority for UMCOR in the
remote areas of Sumatra’s northern tip.
Like the Sri Lanka programs, this work will address holistic needs of
new or repaired homes, strengthen business skills and restore roads,
water sources and schools. For its work in Indonesia, UMCOR partners
with local communities, international nongovernmental organizations,
United Nations agencies and the Indonesian government.
Funding was earmarked for earthquake recovery in
Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Church World Service is UMCOR’s
implementing partner in the region, serving 75,000 individuals with
health programs, provision of fresh water and other health and
psychosocial benefits. UMCOR approved $500,000 for its share in the
*Beher is the communications director for the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or email@example.com.
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