Jan. 6, 2005
YORK (UMNS) – The United Methodist Committee on Relief has provided
about $750,000 in relief to the tsunami stricken Indian Ocean region as
of Jan. 6.
Additional aid will be forthcoming, according to the Rev. Paul Dirdak, UMCOR’s top staff executive.
truckload of health kits valued around $500,000 is on its way from
UMCOR, along with kits from other denominations. Church World Service is
coordinating that effort.
remaining $250,000 is being used for grants to Churches Auxiliary for
Social Action in India, Christian Medical Association of India, the
Methodist Church of Singapore and Church World Service.
plans to serve as many as 50,000 families and is distributing food,
emergency supplies and tarpaulins. Crisis teams in five regions are
assisting with emergency feeding programs and shelter distribution.
Medical Association of India has deployed 12 health teams to remote
regions. An UMCOR grant is helping the teams provide acute health care
and longer-term trauma counseling for affected families. As villages
regain their capacity for health services, the teams will move on to the
grant to Church World Service is supporting a first shipment of shelter
kits to Sri Lanka on Jan. 9. Additional airlifts are planned to provide
commodities for immediate needs and long-term recovery, according to
CWS press reports. The agency is establishing a regional emergency
staging area to support its Southern Asia recovery efforts.
Another UMCOR grant to the Methodist Church of Singapore will assist in delivering antibiotics to the stricken region.
expects to mount a campaign for medicine boxes and health kits in
addition to continuing its emphasis on cash donations. "We’ll be able to
use every health kit our congregations can make," Dirdak said.
Rev. Kristin Sachen, UMCOR’s head of international disaster response,
said she expects recovery from the Asian tsunami to take several years.
"Right now, we are assisting our ecumenical partners with delivery of
desperately needed food, emergency shelter materials, medicines,
blankets, clothing and cooking utensils," she added. "But that’s just
and another staff member met Jan. 6 with ecumenical leaders in Geneva
to evaluate the effectiveness of the response to the South Asia tsunami
disaster and determine the next steps.
meeting was the first of several planned assessments that may lead to
UMCOR providing more direct services, according to Sachen. Millions from
Asia to the East Coast of Africa have lost homes and livelihoods, and
much rebuilding will be required. The agency is planning an assessment
mission in Sri Lanka, for example.
many coastal areas, the land will need major cleansing, reclamation and
rebuilding efforts. UMCOR has acquired expertise in large-scale
rebuilding projects from its missions Turkey, Afghanistan and Bosnia.
The scale of the South Asia disaster will require long-term
food-for-work programs to help families recover their livelihoods,
to UMCOR’s "South Asia Emergency" relief efforts can be placed in local
church offering plates or sent directly to UMCOR, 475 Riverside Drive,
Room 330, New York, NY 10115. Designate checks for UMCOR Advance #274305
and "South Asia Emergency." Online donations can be made by going to
www.methodistrelief.org. Those making credit-card donations can call
for this report was provided by Linda Beher, communications director
for the United Methodist Committee on Relief in New York.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.