Every year, natural disasters, violence, and other emergencies put thousands of people at risk of losing their lives, their homes, and their sources of income. In the developing world, unrelenting poverty and disparity make disaster recovery especially difficult.
Through the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF), countless disaster survivors are given hope in desperate situations. The EDF enables the Church of the Brethren to actively support coordinated disaster relief efforts, mostly through faith-based international partners, wherever disaster strikes.
Haiti – Hurricane Sandy
Haiti was still recovering from the 2010 earthquake when Hurricane Sandy pounded the impoverished island nation in late October 2012. The resulting floods displaced some 200,000 Haitians, caused 104 deaths, damaged infrastructure and farms, and reignited a cholera epidemic.
In July 2013, the National Committee of the Church of the Brethren in Haiti formally requested assistance for the community of Marin, where approximately 10% of the homes were destroyed. BDM has responded with a grant of $75,000 to rebuild homes for 15 families in Marin.
The Haitian Church is managing all aspects of this response, with BDM oversight. This realizes one of the goals of the Haiti Earthquake Response – to build capacity in the Haitian Church to lead their own disaster responses and other social ministries.
Angola - Emergency School Program
Brethren Disaster Ministries has provided a grant of $17,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund in response to a SHAREcircle appeal in June 2013. The appeal is a part of an intervention program aimed at providing food resources, bicycles, wheelchairs, school materials, and hygiene kits to children returning to Angola with their families in the aftermath of a protracted civil war.
This grant provided shipping of material aid from the Brethren Service Center to support students in three schools in the Angolan provinces of Bié, Kwanza Norte, and Kuando Kubango. SHAREcircle has been a BDM partner for over a decade.
Haiti & the Dominican Republic – Canned Meat
Last fall, Hurricane Sandy left many homeless and without stored food in communities with Church of the Brethren members. In May 2013, BDM provided a $13,000 EDF grant for the prepositioning of 37,500 pounds of canned chicken in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The Southern Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic Districts of the Church of the Brethren donated the meat for this distribution. The shipment was to be divided the Ministry Center in Haiti, and the Church of the Brethren and a partner organization in the Dominican Republic.
Aid to Palestinians in Occupation
In the last five decades, Palestinian Christians and Muslims alike have been steadily impoverished by the loss of land, jobs, and freedom of movement. Bethlehem is under occupation, and the separation wall makes business difficult. The result is a despairing people reaching for hope. A $15,000 grant, approved on June 13, 2013, has provided relief to 500 needy persons in the Bethlehem area with urgent medical care and a family food subsidy. Our partner in this project is the Good Shepherd Society, a local nonprofit that COB staff and board members visited in Dec. 2012.
Thailand–Burma Refugee Camp Fire
On March 22, 2013, a cooking fire grew out of control causing near total destruction to two sections of the Ban Mae Surin refugee camp on the Thailand-Burma border. The fire killed 36 people and destroyed more than 400 houses, leaving 2,300 people homeless, while community buildings, schools, a clinic and food warehouses were also razed. An EDF allocation of $3,500 supported the building of emergency shelters and provided 10 days of emergency food.
Lafon, South Sudan Fire
Brethren Disaster Ministries has provided a grant of $6,800 from the Emergency Disaster Fund for the South Sudan village of Lafon, following a destructive fire that swept through the village on January 25, 2013. Prior to the fire, the Church of the Brethren had already formed a relationship with this remote village.
The fire completely burned 108 homes and buildings, including stored food and the grass needed for replacing thatched roofs. The BDM grant funded the purchase of tarps, bags of food, machetes and axes, which will provide emergency shelter for the rainy season and the tools they need to rebuild. Brethren missionary Athanasius Ungang and BVS worker Jocelyn Snyder are facilitating the purchase and delivery of these supplies.
Haiti Earthquake Response
EDF grants totaling nearly $1.5 million made possible the comprehensive Brethren response to the catastrophic Haiti earthquake of January 12, 2010. See details of the Haiti Earthquake Response, which was completed in 2013 and included emergency relief, home rebuilding, sustainable agriculture, and clean water projects. The EDF also funded the construction of a Ministry Center and Guesthouse to house volunteers and serve as headquarters for the Church of the Brethren in Haiti.
The Sahel, North Africa - Drought
In the Sahel region of north Africa, drought, poor crop production, food insecurity, political strife and violence combine to create a complex humanitarian crisis impacting more than 15 million people. Church World Service (CWS) is leading a response to this emergency by working with partner organization Christian Aid to provide emergency food distribution, seeds, tools and other assistance to more than 83,000 people in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Senegal. Two grants totaling $35,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund are supporting this response, with an additional grant likely as the crisis continues.
Pray for those who are hungry around the world.
Democratic Republic of Congo - Humanitarian Crisis
A grant of $8,000 was allocated in December 2012 in response to the displacement of thousands of Congolese civilians due to ongoing violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The funds are supporting the Gisenyi Friends Church's efforts to provide emergency food and water to 275 displaced families.