UMCOR / News Room / Hotline News Update / Archives 2011
  • December 27, 2011

The UMCOR Hotline

For more than 70 years, UMCOR has brought hope and promise to God’s most vulnerable children. In 2011, UMCOR continued to live out its mission to alleviate human suffering in places where natural and human-caused disasters have overwhelmed a community’s ability to recover on its own on your behalf.

It is a joy to share with you some of the work you made possible this year. Your ongoing partnership allows us to accompany communities over the long haul.

In Today's Hotline:

*HAITI: Two Years Later

*CHILE: Disaster Preparedness Helps Response

*JAPAN: Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Threat

*US: Tornadoes, Floods, Fires, and Hurricanes

*AFRICA: Crisis in the Horn of Africa

*PHILIPPINES: Three Devastating Typhoons

*SOUTH SUDAN: World’s Newest Nation

*INDIA: Earthquake in the Himalayas

*TURKEY: Back-to-Back Earthquakes


Nearly two years after the January 2010 earthquake devastated Haiti, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) continues to work to bring help and relief to survivors. UMCOR’s work has been facilitated by the strong connections forged over decades of service in Haiti. Together with partners, UMCOR’s work is progressing in the fields of education, health and hygiene, shelter and reconstruction, livelihoods, and capacity strengthening.

Regular monitoring and evaluation of UMCOR programs provides valuable information to help build on pilot projects, identify and address challenges, and improve methods and results. As of November 11, 2011, nearly $46 million has been generously given towards UMCOR’s efforts in Haiti. Approximately $27 million of those funds have been committed to programs thus far.

The majority of UMCOR’s efforts in the first two years of response have been for shelter and reconstruction. In the year ahead, UMCOR will shift its focus to education, livelihoods, health and hygiene, and capacity strengthening. UMCOR is also planning to establish a contingency fund to meet future emergencies and emerging needs.

You can provide support for all these efforts by giving to Haiti Emergency, UMCOR Advance #418325. Online Giving


UMCOR continues to walk alongside Methodists in Chile as they help their nation recover from the powerful earthquake and tsunami that occurred in February 2010. UMCOR has provided a series of training sessions to help members of Iglesia Metodista de Chile (IMECH), the Methodist Church of Chile, prepare for and respond to disaster.

The first training session, which occurred prior to the earthquake, led to the formation of the Methodist Humanitarian Aid Team (EMAH). Not long after that, EMAH played a crucial role in the wake of the disaster, aiding survivors and to this day, providing much needed assistance in the ongoing recovery effort.

UMCOR has been invited to return twice since the earthquake to provide follow-up training with EMAH. At the 2011 General Conference, IMECH recognized that role and ratified the establishment of EMAH.

Your gift to International Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #982450 will help support training sessions like these around the world. Online Giving


The March 2011 earthquake in Japan that triggered a tsunami and crippled a nuclear plant is a disaster with impacts that may not be fully realized for decades. Immediately after the quake, UMCOR sprang into action by contacting partners in Japan and then working with ecumenical organizations like the National Christian Council in Japan and the United Church of Christ in Japan to provide relief and advocacy. UMCOR is also providing assistance to longtime partner, Asia Rural Institute, which sustained damage in the earthquake.

UMCOR is supporting programs that address livelihoods, infrastructure, psychosocial support, and providing the means for advocacy with regard to the responsible use of nuclear energy.

“We were able to provide a lot of initial relief aid to our partners, and now, with the generosity of our United Methodist donors and other UMCOR supporters—who so far have given more than $11 million—we have the resources to pick up where others have left off, and keep going,” said Melissa Crutchfield, UMCOR executive for International Disaster Response.

When you give to International Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #982450 you support UMCOR’s response to disasters such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Online Giving


2011 brought widespread natural disasters across the US. Spring floods and tornadoes broke out in rapid succession, stretching UMCOR’s disaster response team to capacity.

When Hurricane Irene drenched the northeast causing record flooding in highly populated areas, UMCOR was there as well. By providing financial support and training, annual conferences could respond with their own disaster response ministries that continue today.

As Texas wildfires burned up tens of thousands of acres, UMCOR worked with the Southwest Texas Annual Conference to help clean up in the aftermath.

UMCOR-trained Early Response Teams stepped in to help communities in the early days after these disasters, clearing debris and listening to survivors. Congregations and volunteers stepped up to give of their time and resources to reach out to communities faced with incredible needs. The strength of the United Methodist connectional system was a shining star through all of these storms.

Give to support UMCOR’s US Disaster Response program, UMCOR Advance #901670. Online Giving


A combination of drought and ongoing conflict has left millions in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti hungry. UMCOR is working with multiple partners to respond to this complex emergency that crosses many borders.

UMCOR is working with partners ACT Alliance, Church World Service, Muslim Aid, GlobalMedic, and others to provide relief throughout the region.

Addressing this “prolonged, complex emergency” will require a lot of time and resources, says Melissa Crutchfield, who leads UMCOR’s international disaster response.

“While we are currently working to provide immediate relief to displaced persons and those with acute needs such as malnutrition, our focus moving forward will address some of the root causes of the drought and famine,” she noted. The emphasis will be on projects promoting sustainable agriculture, healthy livestock, climate-change adaptation, and disaster-risk reduction.

Provide food for the hungry in this region of Africa by giving to International Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #982450 and earmarking your gift for “Horn of Africa Crisis.” Online Giving


The UMCOR Philippines office responded to several typhoons this year, including December's Typhoon Sendong, which caused flash flooding in southern Philippines and swept through Cayagan De Oro and Iligan cities on Mindanao Island. The death toll is expected to rise to 3,000 with nearly 2,000 people reported missing. Local volunteers are packaging goods along with water purification tablets provided by UMCOR partner GlobalMedic.

According to civil defense officials, more than 586,000 people remain displaced, forced from their homes by the rising waters or unsafe conditions. Nesat slammed into northern Luzon on September 27, followed by Nalgae just five days later. They brought storm surges, flashfloods, and landslides.

Mrs. Aning Adriano, one of many who received goods through UMCOR’s efforts, said, “This is the first time we have received relief goods from a church or church-related agency and for that, we are very thankful.”

San Isidro is an isolated village of Hagonoy. Goods and volunteers had to be transported by canoe in order to reach the community.

Your support for Philippines Emergency, UMCOR Advance #240235, helps the survivors of these back-to-back typhoons recover and rebuild their lives. Online Giving


A new nation was born in July 2011, South Sudan. UMCOR had been working in the region since 2005 when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed between Northern and Southern Sudan, bringing an end to a 20-year war.

“The big focus of the international community is to support the state in Southern Sudan. UMCOR is focusing on where our strength is, at the community level,” says Sharad Aggarwal, director of programs of UMCOR’s field offices.

In the village of Aweil, which is close to the border with Sudan, and to Darfur in particular, UMCOR has built schools, drilled boreholes, erected latrines, conducted hygiene and cholera-prevention trainings for community health workers, and responded to natural emergencies, including flooding last year.

In Yei, which is further south, UMCOR has constructed and equipped schools, built latrines, drilled boreholes for well water, and repaired, supplied, and equipped a medical clinic.

As South Sudan begins its new life as an independent country, it will face residual issues of the conflict that raged between North and South: continued tensions, reintegration of returnees from abroad and internally displaced, natural disasters such as the flooding of 2010, and the care of thousands of refugees in their midst from other countries. UMCOR intends to be there and bring hope in this new nation.

Support UMCOR’s efforts in Sudan and South Sudan by giving to Sudan Emergency, UMCOR Advance #184385. Online Giving


In September 2011 an earthquake rocked Sikkim state in India and its Himalayan neighbors in Nepal, Bhutan, and the Tibetan region of China. The land remained unsettled for weeks afterward and driving rains provoked landslides, causing survivors to prefer to stay outdoors for safety.

UMCOR responded by assisting longtime partner Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) in their response. The distribution of supplies to help 1,000 families stay warm and fed in the cold weather was among the first efforts of the agency. Families received five woolen blankets, a pressure cooker, utensils set, bucket, and hygiene kit, as well as materials to create a temporary shelter against the cold.

Your gift to International Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #982450, helps provide relief to communities such as these in Sikkim that are crushed by natural disasters Online Giving


Two earthquakes struck eastern Turkey in just two weeks this past fall. UMCOR was able to respond through partners already working in the region: International Blue Crescent (IBC) and GlobalMedic.

Muzaffer Baca, vice president of IBC, said that some survivors of the first quake, on October 23, already had returned to the damaged city of Van and were living in their homes or hotels when the second quake struck.

The quakes left thousands homeless just as harsh winter temperatures began to grip the region. Relief efforts through IBC focused on providing families with temporary shelter, blankets, and other items to help displaced people cope with the weather. UMCOR also funded the distribution of 200 heaters to needy families.

Partner GlobalMedic focused its efforts on providing survivors with access to medical care as the earthquakes severely damaged local medical facilities.

Your gift to International Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #982450, helps UMCOR respond to this and other emergencies around the world. Please earmark your check “Turkey earthquake.”Online Giving

UMCOR provides emergency relief in many areas of the world. To find out more about UMCOR's ministries, please visit 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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