Emergency Disaster Fund grants aid work in Nigeria, Iowa

The Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster Fund has issued a major grant for the Nigeria Crisis Response and a smaller one to assist with tornado recovery efforts in Iowa.

A grant of $400,000 will cover Nigeria Crisis Response program expenses through February. The Nigerian crisis, now in its eighth year, continues to have a heavy impact on Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The Nigerian church is struggling financially but still growing, starting new churches in areas where displaced members have resettled.

The current response continues key ministries at a reduced level of funding due to reduced donations. About 70 percent of EYN members have now returned home, shifting program priorities to recovery activities that will help families become more self-supporting. The total proposed budget for 2018 is $700,000.

Primary focus areas of the response include repairing homes; peacebuilding work and trauma recovery; assistance with agriculture, education, food, and medical and home supplies; helping the EYN church recover; and travel and other expenses for US volunteers and staff.

House repair in Lassa

Total EDF giving to the response since the initial grant in 2014 is now $4.7 million.

Elsewhere, a grant of $25,000 will support the response of the Iowa River Church of the Brethren as it responds to damage caused by an EF3 tornado in Marshalltown, Iowa, on July 19.

Many buildings in the town were affected, including an estimated 1,200-plus homes—a significant number of which were uninsured. A large immigrant population in the area has been particularly hard-hit.

The Iowa River congregation has been active since immediately after the disaster, providing support in a variety of ways, including debris removal, distribution of supplies, providing transportation, and hosting an out-of-town mission team. A Mission Outreach Committee is now focusing on short- and long-term recovery needs.

The EDF grant joins a $2,000 offering that was received at the Northern Plains District Conference. The gifts will allow the congregation to expand and extend its response.