$5 Million for Long-Term Recovery Approved by UMCOR Board
by Michelle Scott*
STAMFORD, CT, Oct. 11-2007—The United Methodist Committee on Relief continued its commitment to long-term assistance in the wake of disaster at its Oct. 9 board of directors meeting in Stanford, Conn. Virtually all of the $5 million in grants approved at the meeting will help people struggling to recover from war and natural disasters that have long been absent from news headlines.
Returning refugees in Afghanistan as well as survivors of Hurricane Jeanne in Haiti and the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia will all benefit from these funds. "Every day there is a need that requires a response from UMCOR," says Sam W. Dixon, UMCOR's top executive, underlining the importance and wide reach of UMCOR's work. "From emergencies to long term recovery UMCOR is there to share the gift of hope."
Indonesia Reconstruction and Development
People in Nias and Aceh, Indonesia, will benefit from $4 million of the funds that will provide comprehensive support towards recovery from the 2004 tsunami. The Reconstruction and Development for Aceh and Nias (RADAN) project will further UMCOR's efforts in Aceh Province to reconstruct homes and rebuild communities.
Nias will be a new area of work for UMCOR. This remote island suffered greatly from the 2004 tsunami and earthquakes in the months that followed. South Nias, where UMCOR's program will be focused, is particularly underserved. RADAN will bring improved access to clean water to thousands of people, 92% of whom currently use water from unsafe sources such as ponds, unprotected wells and other sources.
RADAN will also result in reconstructed homes and infrastructure, improved economic opportunities, better access to water and sanitation, and support for new and growing businesses in both Aceh and Nias. "I am excited that we will be able to do this project," said Florise Newton, an UMCOR director, of UMCOR's ability to meet continuing needs several years after the disaster occurred.
It's been four years since Hurricane Jeanne ravaged the Haitian countryside and still people struggle to recover. Two newly-approved projects will help those still suffering the effects of this storm. Through micro-enterprise projects in Gonaives and Dondon, UMCOR will help micro-credit operations to grow through establishing cooperatives and other community-based organizations. In both areas the project will focus on increasing food security, an important issue in Haiti. UMCOR's goal is to reach 500 households in each are with these important community-building programs.
UMCOR's directors also approved funds to support work in the Mississippi Conference, Afghanistan and in support of Church World Service core programs.
*Scott is the Executive Secretary of Communications for UMCOR