INTERNATIONAL DISASTER RESPONSE
When a natural or human-caused disaster strikes outside of the United States, UMCOR serves as the primary channel for United Methodist assistance. In the short-term, UMCOR provides funds to our partners to distribute food, hygiene supplies, shelter and other basic needs to ease human suffering. In the long-term, we work with local partners towards recovery and reconstruction.
In its programming approach, UMCOR adheres to Sphere Minimum Standards in humanitarian response and the International Committee of the Red Cross Humanitarian Code of Conduct. UMCOR works through capacity building efforts and accompaniment to support that partners do the same.
Bolster Response Efforts
Current Disaster Response
UMCOR and its partners are responding to disasters across the globe every day. Please join us in prayer for the affected areas and consider giving to UMCOR International Disaster Response to support these efforts.
On January 23, Cyclone Eloise made landfall in Mozambique, bringing torrential rain and severe flooding to the coast. The storm hit areas already devastated by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in March and April 2019. The Mozambique Episcopal Area Disaster Management Office was awarded a grant for immediate emergency assistance to address basic human needs such as food, hygiene and temporary shelter.
In January, the people of Indonesia endured a series of deadly disasters including flooding, landslides, an earthquake and volcanic activity. UMCOR awarded multiple grants to provide for distribution of food and basic necessities in rural communities as well as to facilitate shelter repair and livelihood recovery.
- Hurricanes Iota and Eta
- Typhoons Goni, Molave and Vamco
- Explosions in Beirut
- Flooding in Nepal
- Tropical storms Amanda and Cristobal
- Flooding in Congo
- Taal Volcano Eruption
- Hurricane Dorian
In response to these two Category 4 storms that both hit in November, UMCOR funded and worked with partners in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala to provide emergency food, building supplies and COVID-19 protection. Grants for Panama and Mexico were also awarded.
After this destructive trio of typhoons hit within three weeks of one another in November, UMCOR awarded four grants to episcopal areas in the Philippines in support of immediate relief efforts such as access to food and water, sanitation and hygiene. The Disaster Management Office of the Manila Episcopal Area was awarded a grant for the distribution of rice and cash assistance to households affected by Typhoon Vamco as well as shelter repair and livelihood recovery.
UMCOR awarded grants to The Middle East Council of Churches, the Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue and the Joint Christian Committee (Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees, Lebanon) in support of their local response to the August 4 explosion. These funds helped to procure and deliver essential food and hygiene supplies, nonfood items such as bedding and cooking supplies, and provide psychosocial support for vulnerable children and adults.
Monsoon rains in July resulted in flooding and landslides in several municipalities across the country. Homes were damaged and hundreds of people died, were injured, or were reported as missing. UMCOR funding provided immediate relief assistance in the form of food kits and hygiene supplies for rural communities.
In late May and early June, Amanda and Cristobal impacted regions across El Salvador. Thousands of hectares of crops were damaged and many structures were destroyed by flooding and landslides. Funding provided assistance through food baskets, medicine and hygiene kits, metal material for roof repair and small stoves to families affected by the storms as well the COVID-19 pandemic.
The people of East Congo endured severe flooding that claimed lives, homes, churches and schools in late April. UMCOR worked with both the North Katanga and East Congo episcopal areas and supported the response of local disaster management coordinators. Food such as rice, cornmeal and oil were distributed to flood survivors. In November, South Congo saw major flooding that affected property and infrastructure. UMCOR awarded a grant to assist in the restoration of damaged community assets.
In partnership with UMCOR, the Philippines Manila Episcopal Area Disaster Management Office identified and distributed food and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) needs to those displaced by the eruption in mid-January. Continued recovery efforts include working to restore livelihoods for evacuees upon return to their villages.
In September, Dorian’s impact on the Bahamas was severe. UMCOR awarded grants to Bahamas Methodist Habitat (BMH), the Disaster Ministry of the Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church (BCMC), the Bahamas Turks and Caicos Island Conference (BTCIC) of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas (MCCA), and IsraAid. These grants provided immediate funding to address basic human needs as well as long-term recovery and rebuilding.
UMCOR will provide further updates as they become available.
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UMCOR awarded grants to the Malawi Provisional Annual Conference, The United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe and The United Methodist Church in Mozambique in response to Cyclone Idai and Kenneth’s back-to-back devastating rains and flooding. The grants provided immediate emergency funding for basic human needs including food distribution, hygiene supplies/clothing distribution, safe water access and temporary shelter.
UMCOR awarded a grant to address immediate needs in the most hard-hit provinces of Baguio while the Disaster Management Coordinators in the Philippines continued to work with their communities after Typhoon Mangkhut to assess damages and needs.
Disaster Risk Reduction
Even after the initial disaster is over, people are often endangered by subsequent disasters. UMCOR’s Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) program help communities to identify vulnerabilities and attend to those before another disaster strikes. In the Philippines, for instance, building a retaining wall or planting mangroves can help keep a storm surge from causing extensive damage in coastal communities. Training people what to do in a disaster is also a key step in reducing the damaging effects of future disasters.
Disaster Risk Reduction addresses fundamental problems like environmental degradation, climate change, infrastructural inequality and political negligence through small-scale, localized solutions. Even as we administer disaster response grants, UMCOR pays attention to systemic issues related to community health, sustainable agriculture, water and sanitation, education, economic justice and reconstruction.
UMCOR uses the Hyogo Framework for Action, a disaster response strategy endorsed by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), helping to substantially reduce the number of disaster losses.