UMCOR to Commence Hurricane Relief Work in Cuba
NEW YORK, Nov. 4, 2008—The United Methodist Committee on Relief will immediately begin relief work in Cuba in response to September hurricanes under new licenses the US Government has given to the General Board of Global Ministries.
Home reconstruction, food, psychosocial assistance, church repair and livelihoods assistance will benefit thousands of Cubans affected by the hurricanes. "We rejoice in this news and look forward this opportunity to be in mission together with the Methodist Church of Cuba," says the Rev. Sam Dixon, UMCOR's top executive.
Licenses Granted through October 2009
Two licenses were granted to Global Ministries-one for the short term (30 days) and a second one that extends the denomination's ability to help until October 2009. The licenses give Global Ministries permission to implement up to $1.1 million in humanitarian response during this time period. While the license is restricted to specific activities as outlined in the license application, this opportunity represents a lifeline to thousands left in need by the storms.
This is an answer to prayer for many in The United Methodist Church in the US who have been calling for a response to the hurricanes in Cuba since they ravaged the island two months ago. The Global Ministries' license, along with the licenses of many other denominations and faith-based agencies, were not renewed by the US Government in 2006 and reapplications have been denied since then.
UMCOR retained the services of Williams and Jenson, a Washington law firm with experience in obtaining these kinds of licenses in September. "Their experience and UMCOR's persistence have come through in the resulting licenses allowing humanitarian assistance to reach our hurting sisters and brothers in Cuba," says Dixon.
UMCOR is the not-for-profit global humanitarian aid organization of the United Methodist Church. UMCOR is working in more than 80 countries worldwide, including the United States. Our mission, grounded in the teachings of Jesus, is to alleviate human suffering-whether caused by war, conflict or natural disaster, with open hearts and minds to all people.
UMCOR responds to natural or civil disasters that are interruptions of such magnitude that they overwhelm a community's ability to recover on its own.