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.
Lafon, South Sudan
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.
The Sahel, North Africa
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.
An EDF grant of $8,000 for Syria responds to a Church World Service appeal the political crisis in the Middle Eastern country, now in its second year. The related violence has resulted in a humanitarian crisis, with thousands of people displaced within Syria and thousands more seeking refuge in neighboring countries, such as Lebanon and Jordan. The money supports the work of CWS and its partner, International Orthodox Christian Charities, in responding with food packages, relief kits, household supplies, and training for community health care workers.
Democratic Republic of Congo
A grant of $8,000 has been allocated 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.
As more than 114,000 Angolan refugees from the decades-long civil war return to Angola in 2012, they are finding a country in drought and without resources to support their reestablishment of livelihoods and households. A grant of $3,500 is helping Church World Service provide emergency food and longer-term supplies (including utensils, tools, shelter and seeds) to enable the returnees to establish a temporary home in host communities.
East Africa Drought and Famine
A severe drought struck the Horn of Africa last year, and millions of survivors are still in crisis. Rains in late 2011 allowed for only partial recovery. In the first half of 2012, rains have been uneven and later than normal, causing many communities to experience crop failures again this year. The food crisis continues to affect an estimated 2.2 million people in Kenya, 2.5 million people in Somalia and 3.2 million people in Ethiopia, according to the World Food Program.
CWS is helping drought-affected communities in four areas of Kenya: Mwingi and Kitui districts, Eastern Province; Kwale District, Coast Province; and Baringo District, Rift Valley Province. The focus here is on improving child nutrition and helping rural communities adapt to drier conditions.
In July 2011, the situation was so grim that southern Somalia was declared to be in the midst of a true famine. In our partnership with Church World Service and the ACT Alliance, the Church of the Brethren supported emergency food and seed distributions Kenya as well as other emergency aid in Ethiopia, Somalia, and refugee camps in Kenya. This response was sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund, which provides immediate aid, and the Global Food Crisis Fund, which develops sustainable solutions for food and water security. You can help:
EDF grants totaling $1,372,500 are making possible the comprehensive Brethren Haiti Earthquake Response. Brethren Disaster Ministries' response to the earthquake transitioned in 2011 from emergency relief to long-term recovery. The focus for 2011-2012 has been on rebuilding 50 homes, sustainable agriculture, and clean water projects. The EDF also funded the construction of a ministry center to house volunteers and serve as headquarters for the Church of the Brethren in Haiti.
Additionally, $150,000 in grants is supporting the earthquake recovery programs of Church World Service.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan
More than 200,000 people are displaced due to increasing military operations against militants in tribal regions and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in northern Pakistan. These mostly poor families have limited access to food and medical care in host communities which are overwhelmed by the needs of this group. As of June 7, 2012, a grant of $20,000 is helping CWS provide emergency food assistance, household supplies and medical care for families that have been repeatedly displaced over the last several years.
Extensive flooding during the October 2011 monsoon rains put one-third of Thailand’s land mass under water. More than 2.4 million people, including 700,000 children, were affected, with over 300 deaths. Extensive crop damage, loss of livestock, and loss of harvested rice added to the humanitarian tragedy. An EDF grant of $20,000 helped provide emergency food, survival packets, and shelters to survivors of this disaster through Church World Service partners in Thailand.
An EDF grant in the amount of $10,000 was given in response to an appeal by Church World Service following the displacement of families due to civil strife and violence in Libya. This grant supported critial humanitarian aid, income-generation programs, and trauma support for displaced families who fled to Egypt.