The UMCOR Hotline
September 19, 2006
In Today's Hotline:
The situation in Gaza is dire due to continued economic sanctions coupled with the loss of infrastructure from fighting over a sustained period of time. Food prices have increased dramatically, with the price of two potatoes nearly equaling what it cost to purchase two pounds a few months ago. Electrical problems continue in the region and hospitals have had to make due with generators since Gaza's main power plant was destroyed in late June. Action by Churches Together, an alliance of faith-based humanitarian aid agencies, reports that only 30 percent of Gaza's population has a consistent income because of the breakdown in infrastructure and economic sanctions.
UMCOR has been working with ACT partners to provide assistance to families in a program that, with appropriate funding, could expand to 6,000-7,000 families. This is in addition to free health clinics and educational assistance.
UMCOR's funds for the Middle East are running low and we are unable to fully support these efforts. Your generosity will help us provide caring assistance to more families in need. Please give to UMCOR Advance #601740, Middle East Emergency.
After weeks of helping people displaced by violence in the northeastern part of Sri Lanka, UMCOR is now helping these same people safely return to their homes. UMCOR Sri Lanka is working closely with the government to ensure people have their basic needs met, like food, water and shelter, when they return to their towns and villages that were damaged in the fighting. UMCOR is providing some 4,000 return kits with hygiene items and cleaning supplies to help people who left everything to flee the violence in their area. Returnees are also receiving a hand up from UMCOR Sri Lanka through a work for pay program that pays residents for the labor-intensive clean-up. This will help many who have been unable to work or return to work because of the disruption to get back on their feet financially.
Vanessa is just 12 and in her short life she has lost both her parents and is now living with her second guardian since their deaths. She lives with her uncle who struggled to feed her and send her to school. Through UMCOR's scholarship program, Vanessa's school fees are now covered and her uncle's burden is considerably less. She is one of 2,500 girls in five villages and towns in the southern highlands of Congo who qualify for assistance in a girl's education program.
UMCOR also has a mentoring program through which the girls are encouraged in their studies and plans for the future. The success of the program is evident in the numbers; 91 percent of the girls successfully passed their examinations to the next class.
The TV cameras are gone, and early relief centers have closed. Many hands have removed debris, and the electricity works, most of the time. But for persons directly affected by a disaster, it can take weeks or months for survivors to get a handle on the permanence of their losses. How can congregations help?
Here's a start. Spiritual Care in Disaster Response is a new collection of resources provided by UMCOR to assist congregations, families and children involved in disaster-as survivors or as people who emotionally support them. Topics include: Basic Trauma Information for Congregations; Where Are You on the Road to Recovery? (Plus: Phases of Disaster); How Can I Expect My Child to React in Disaster? and Should I Seek Professional Counseling for My Child or Teenager? These materials were adapted for UMCOR by the Rev. Mary E. Hughes Gaudreau, LPC, Oklahoma Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, and UMCOR disaster response consultant. Download for free from our web site.
UMCOR provides emergency relief in many areas of the world. To find out more about UMCOR's ministries, please visit umcor.org. You can donate to any project by placing a contribution in the offering plate at a local United Methodist church; by sending a check to UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068; or by calling 1-800-554-8583, where credit card donations are accepted. You can also give online by clicking on any of the "Give Now" links. UMCOR is exempt from tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States and qualifies for the maximum charitable contribution deduction by donors.
And, please pray for those who are hungry, displaced, sick or in poverty because of these and other natural and human-made disasters, and for the workers who minister to them.
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