Emergency Disaster Fund grants totaling $70,000 support Africa cyclone relief

Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed two grants from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to support relief efforts in southern Africa following Cyclone Idai. The two grants are given to longterm partner organizations of the Church of the Brethren. A grant of $40,000 has been given to ACT Alliance, and a grant of $30,000 has been given jointly to IMA World Health and Lutheran World Relief.

A third recent grant of $45,000 represents an additional allocation for the Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding project site in the Carolinas, aiding homeowners recovering from Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

Cyclone Idai

After making an initial landfall as a tropical depression, Idai strengthened to a major cyclone and made a second landfall on Mozambique on March 15. The storm caused high wind damage in Mozambique and extensive flooding throughout Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, resulting in catastrophic damage, more than 1,000 deaths, thousands missing, and over 3 million affected, reported the grant request.

The size and scope of the disaster combined with difficulty accessing rural Mozambique has many aid agencies overwhelmed and the affected people underserved. The situation is made worse with a larger outbreak of cholera as health organizations race immunizations and treatments to the most affected areas. 

The allocation of $30,000 to longtime partners IMA World Health and Lutheran World Relief supports relief programing in the Chipinge and Chimanimani regions of Zimbabwe. The effort provides temporary shelter, distribution of relief kits, and water filters. In Mozambique, the two organizations are sending school kits to support safe spaces for children living in temporary camps.

A large-scale response and recovery program has been launched by ACT Alliance, which has long standing forums, or country-level organizing bodies, in each of the affected countries. A combination of local and international organizations will implement a comprehensive response supporting basic human needs of water, food, shelter, and sanitation for the most vulnerable people. Grant funds will be used where the needs are greatest and other funding sources are not available. Additional grant requests for this appeal will be considered in the future.

Hurricanes Matthew and Florence response

Disaster relief volunteers work on house damaged by hurricane Matthew
Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers from Bethany Church of the Brethren in Northern Indiana District, and volunteers from Pacific Southwest District enjoy spending time with a homeowner (center, in black) and her daughter, and their dog, while working on her Hurricane Matthew-damaged house in the Carolinas. Photo by Ed Hendrickson, courtesy of BDM

Brethren Disaster Ministries continues its work responding to the needs of homeowners recovering from Hurricanes Matthew and Florence in the Carolinas. In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew caused serious wind, storm, and flood damage along the east coast of the US. In April 2018, Brethren Disaster Ministries established a project site in Lumberton, N.C., to support Hurricane Matthew recovery in both North and South Carolina. In September 2018, the site had to close for two weeks when the category 4 Hurricane Florence hit both states, causing more damage and flooding and re-affecting many who had just recovered from Hurricane Matthew.

Recent months have seen higher than anticipated spending of the EDF funds allocated for this project for multiple reasons, said the grant request. One reason is a larger need for support in the community, and Brethren Disaster Ministries being asked to contribute a monthly amount for a location for volunteer housing. Leadership support expenses also were higher in January and February, partly due to travel expenses for leaders in training to participate in internships that are needed for leadership development and discernment of their call.

The grant will enable Brethren Disaster Ministries to continue Hurricanes Matthew and Florence recovery efforts in North and South Carolina through the summer as a double site, and then as a single site with fewer weekly volunteers through at least April 2020.

Prior EDF grants for this appeal total $90,000.

For more information about Brethren Disaster Ministries to go www.brethren.org/bdm . For more about the Emergency Disaster Fund, and to give online, go to www.brethren.org/edf .

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