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.

2021-22 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.

The storm changed from a tropical storm to a super typhoon in less than 24 hours as it swept through Central Luzon on September 25 and 26. The typhoon caused floods and damaged houses and roads, tore down power lines, destroyed trees and devastated crops. UMCOR supplied an initial solidarity grant to the Manila Episcopal Area which is enabling them to assess the situation, operationalize their response and determine appropriate humanitarian assistance as they identify the most urgent human needs.
Severe and widespread flooding has killed thousands of people and left millions displaced from their homes. It is the worst natural disaster Pakistan has seen in decades. Working closely with partners in the region, UMCOR has awarded two solidarity grants to help people meet basic needs with food and hygiene kits in Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh provinces.
A strong earthquake hit the northern Philippines in late July. Many people were killed and injured, and nearly 50,000 were displaced. UMCOR awarded a solidarity grant the Baguio Episcopal Area to support food, water, sanitation and hygiene as well as shelter and non-food items vulnerable households.
In late June, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake killed more than 1,000 people and left thousands more injured. UMCOR awarded a solidarity grant to a local partner in support of their food, hygiene and cash relief programming.
Since the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, UMCOR has acted on behalf of The United Methodist Church to provide aid and assistance. Grants for immediate relief have been given to trusted partners – United Methodist churches in surrounding countries, ecumenical partners and non-governmental organizations – to provide direct aid inside Ukraine as well as help for those who have fled to surrounding countries. Learn more about relief and ongoing response efforts here.

Brought on by the underwater eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on January 15, a tsunami in Tonga produced widespread flooding, falling ash and strong fumes, and led to the displacement of many people. UMCOR awarded a solidarity grant to help provide transportation of relief supplies to Tonga that were mobilized by a Tongan community in Southern California.

Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda

UMCOR awarded a recovery grant in support of vulnerable female-headed households in Abidjan, leveraging cash assistance to finance income-generating activities and offering educational workshops for women who lost a spouse and/or children in the pandemic. In Uganda, a recovery grant addressed basic needs of households affected by poverty and malnutrition exacerbated by the onset of the pandemic and reduced food insecurity through the distribution of small farming tools and education on sustainable farming practices.

India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh

UMCOR awarded relief grants to aid efforts of partners through medical equipment and PPE, information and awareness campaigns, food and livelihood support.

Bahamas

UMCOR awarded a grant to the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas to supplement efforts by the Bahamas government and other organizations to provide food assistance to 130 households.

Syria

UMCOR awarded a grant focused on community resilience by providing 1,000 households with COVID-19 hygiene kits.

Super Typhoon Rai struck with unpredicted force in mid-December, causing the death and displacement of hundreds of people. The storm toppled structures and caused severe flooding and landslides. UMCOR provided emergency assistance to address immediate needs in areas most damaged by the typhoon and will continue to support the Disaster Management Offices through long-term recovery.

UMCOR awarded grants to the Methodist Church of Kenya and the Methodist Church Madagascar for emergency food rations to help meet basic needs of thousands of vulnerable families affected by ongoing drought.

In response to unrest and uncertainty in Afghanistan, UMCOR worked with long-standing partners in the region to provide humanitarian relief and assist with refugee resettlement. UMCOR supported displaced families residing in the Kabul area with cash assistance, enabling them to prioritize their most urgent needs such as food, shelter, or medicine. UMCOR continues to support the efforts of International Blue Crescent in Kunduz and Mazar-i-Sharif, providing food rations and hygiene kits to displaced families.
Following a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake on August 14, and Tropical Storm Grace which dumped 10 inches of rain on Haiti just two days later, UMCOR worked with partners to meet the immediate needs of survivors, addressing healthcare, food, water and hygiene. It continues to offer humanitarian assistance by offering cash assistance and targeting food insecurity. 10 grants have been awarded in total.
Henan Province was hit by storms since mid-July, causing widespread flooding. An estimated one million hectares of agricultural lands and infrastructure were impacted and more than 300 people died. UMCOR awarded a grant to a partner in support of immediate human needs.
In response to the increased COVID-19 global outbreak, UMCOR awarded relief grants to aid efforts of partners through medical equipment and PPE, information and awareness campaigns, food and livelihood support.
The people of Congo have endured severe flooding since 2019 that has claimed lives, homes, churches and schools. For the past few years, UMCOR has worked with multiple episcopal areas and supported the response of local disaster management coordinators. Food, household items and hygiene supplies have been distributed to those who have lost belongings and been displaced.
In response to May’s violent conflict in Israel and Palestine, UMCOR awarded a grant to a regional partner to provide critical relief for hundreds of internally displaced families. Locally sourced items, assembled into hygiene kits, were distributed to the most affected families in Gaza City and north Gaza. UMCOR also financially supported the response of the ACT Alliance.
Tensions have risen and violence has increased significantly in the eastern provinces of Congo since October 2020. Armed groups have targeted civilians and displaced populations in the region. In response, UMCOR has provided multiple grants in support of those affected, supplying food and other basic necessities for thousands of vulnerable households.
In response to the La Soufrière Volcano eruption on April 9, UMCOR provided financial assistance to the Methodist Church of St. Vincent for the purchase and distribution of food, hygiene items and bedding at evacuation centers, some of which are Methodist churches.
Deteriorating economic and political conditions in Venezuela have decreased access to food, medicine and livelihoods. An UMCOR grant supplied families with two months of food rations.
After the eruption of Mt. Nyiragongo in East Congo near the city of Goma on May 22, UMCOR worked with the disaster management office of the East Congo Episcopal Area and awarded a solidarity grant to support immediate needs. An additional grant was awarded in August that furnished a one-month supply of food, non-food and hygiene items for 4,600 individuals.
A massive fire broke out in Kutupalong and Balukhali, the world’s largest refugee camps, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on the March 22. The fire damaged over 12,000 shelters; more than 61,000 Rohingya refugees were affected by the fire. An UMCOR grant supplied emergency cash assistance and non-food items for affected families.
In response to the economic crisis caused by the military takeover in February, UMCOR awarded a relief grant to the Methodist Church of Lower Myanmar for food rations, emergency cash assistance and medical care for vulnerable households.
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.
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.

UMCOR will provide further updates as they become available.

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2020 Response

Hurricanes Iota and Eta
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.
Typhoons Goni, Molave and Vamco
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.
Explosions in Beirut
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.
Flooding in Nepal
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.
Tropical storms Amanda and Cristobal
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.
Taal Volcano Eruption
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.

Past Response

Hurricane Dorian (2019)
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.
Cyclones Idai and Kenneth (2019)
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.
Typhoon Mangkhut (2018)
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.