UMCOR Responds to Earthquake in Chile
February 27, 2010—The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is responding to the needs of people affected by the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile early on Saturday. Preliminary reports indicate at least 147 people have died, homes and hospitals have been destroyed, and the earthquake triggered a tsunami that is rolling across the Pacific.
Bishop Joel N. Martinez, interim General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries said, “I have just received the terrible news about the major 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile. The early reports of great destruction and widespread injuries and the increasing death count point to a need for a full response by all humanitarian agencies and governments in the coming days and weeks.”
UMOR is working with partners in Chile: Iglesia Metodista de Chile (IMECH), Ministerio Social Methodista (MISOM) and Equipo Metodista de Acción Humanitaria (EMAH) to respond with resources and support.
Bishop Martinez continued, “I received a message from the Iglesia Metodista de Chile and have expressed to Bishop Mario Martinez Tapia that we respond with our prayers, our solidarity, and our commitment to offer the resources and services of UMCOR to help the church respond.”
In an email, Juan Salazar, President of the Methodist Social Ministry in Chile, says of their initial evaluations of damage, “the information that arises each time indicates that the effects are greater than originally assessed.”
UMCOR executives, Melissa Crutchfield and Tom Hazelwood expressed via email, “our thoughts and prayers are with you all as you mobilize EMAH and IMECH in response to the earthquake this morning. We will continue to keep in touch and to keep you in our prayers. UMCOR and the people of the United Methodist Church stand with you and will help in any way we can.”
Disaster Response Training
Crutchfield and Hazelwood conducted a three-day disaster preparedness and emergency response training for IMECH district coordinators in October 2009. About 20 participants of the Chilean Methodist Church from different districts and regions engaged in the eight-hour a day training, which fostered networking opportunities with local authorities and relevant partners in the emergency response field. The disaster response training offered support IMECH, MISOM and EMAH district coordinators to build a disaster response network in preparation for disasters.
In a blog entry in the UMCOR Notebook, Hazelwood writes, “When we spoke of the use of volunteers and their value to UMCOR’s ministry of disaster response, the people of Chile knew and understood perfectly. They know what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ when there is trouble.”
How to Help
Bishop Martinez says, “I call on our generous United Methodist constituents to join in the response to the Chile Emergency Advance to strengthen UMCOR’s ability to be fully present with resources.”
Gifts can also be made by check to UMCOR and mailed to UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. For local church and Annual Conference credit, place your gift in the offering plate on Sundays. Please indicate in the memo line of the check that it is for the Chile Emergency.