UMCOR makes grants to Asian projects, Sudan
April 10, 2006
|A UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey, ACT
Children huddle in a tent city near Balakot, Pakistan, established after the October earthquake.
By Linda Bloom*
STAMFORD, Conn. (UMNS) — For the past seven years, United Methodists have
partnered with International Blue Crescent in response to earthquakes in Turkey
and Iran and the tsunami in Indonesia.
Now that partnership is being used in response to the earthquake that devastated
parts of Pakistan and Kashmir last October. In early April, directors of the
United Methodist Committee on Relief allocated $1.5 million to the Turkish
nongovernmental organization to extend its assistance to earthquake victims.
UMCOR directors also approved $5.8 million for tsunami-related projects in
Sri Lanka and Indonesia and $330,000 for further assistance to South Sudan
The United Methodist relief agency already had provided emergency funding
to help International Blue Crescent provide food and shelter to 3,000 earthquake
survivors. More recently, the agency has assisted four villages in the Bagh
district with winterized shelter, latrines, tented schools and tented health
|A UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey, UMCOR
Halima Grang Shole plants peanuts outside a camp in the South Darfur region of Sudan.
The new project involves the rebuilding of 306 homes and schools for two villages,
as well as providing psycho-social support. The house design is earthquake-resistant
and approved by the Pakistani government. UMCOR is contributing half of the
$3 million budget.
In Asia, UMCOR has partnered with the Methodist
Church of Sri Lanka in relief and recovery work since the Dec. 26, 2004,
caused an unprecedented
loss of life and property. At the meeting, UMCOR directors approved $4.4 million
for a church project that would provide multifaceted assistance to the most
vulnerable survivors – children, single women, the elderly and the disabled.
The objectives include the building of replacement
housing, with accompanying infrastructures, for 498 families; providing support
through a children’s center, women’s crisis center and trauma counseling
for people in close contact with children; building and operating a vocational
training center in the war zone of north Sri Lanka to help youth gain self-sustaining
skills; and strengthening the capacity of the Methodist Church of Sri Lanka
to reach out and assist tsunami survivors.
Directors allocated $1.4 million to rehabilitate
a public park in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, the city where the most people were
by the Dec. 26 tsunami.
The Methodist church and school in Banda Aceh is being rebuilt through assistance
from Indiana United Methodists and contact with the mayor’s office through
local Methodists led to the proposed park project.
|A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose
A man picks through the wreckage of beachfront homes in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, following the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami.
“The park is an important statement for community residents by UMCOR
and our Methodist church partners,” the UMCOR request stated. “With
Aceh’s history of unrest and conflict, a public works program undertaken
in the spirit of reconciliation extends hospitality to all in the city whose
lives were so devastated by the tsunami and subsequent struggle to regain hope
and self-sufficiency. In addition, a memorial to those who died in the tsunami
would honor the lives of those who used the park in life.”
A Methodist couple from Singapore is leading the
design team for the park, which has enthusiastic endorsement from the Methodist
Church of Indonesia. “A
large part of their endorsement is on account of the major shift in Muslim/Christian
relations that they believe would begin if the project were undertaken,” the
To continue the denomination’s work in the
Sudan, UMCOR directors approved a grant of $330,000 to provide administrative
operational support to its
offices in Khartoum, South Sudan and Darfur.
The staff is coordinating the grants received from the Ginghamsburg (Ohio)
United Methodist Church for an agricultural project and child protection and
skills training programs. The staff also will work to secure additional funds
from major donors. About $15,000 of the grant will be used in water and sanitation
*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or email@example.com.