Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ecumenical Disaster Relief Efforts In Asia

Baptists appeal for aid after typhoon hits Southeast Asia
By ABP staff
Published: September 29, 2009

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (ABP) -- Baptists in the Philippines are appealing to the global Baptist community for donations as they gear up for relief efforts in the wake of a Sept. 26 typhoon that has killed 300 people there and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

"For Christians, every disaster is a call to action," said Joel Raner, president of the Luzon Baptist Convention, a regional body affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance that serves in an area of the Philippines hard hit by Typhoon Ketsan. "We are called to help those who are suffering when they need it, and this is certainly the time of most need."

Baptist World Aid, the BWA's relief-and-development arm, urged Baptists around the world to respond to drastic needs of victims of flooding.

"We are also concerned that Typhoon Ketsana is now heading for the Mekong Delta in Vietnam," said Paul Montacute, BWAid director. Montacute said the BWA has also relationships with some Baptist groups in Vietnam, and BWA president David Coffey has visited with Baptist leaders there.

BWAid's Rescue 24 team, operated by Hungarian Baptist Aid and made up of trained international volunteers, is trying to work out details to offer services to the Philippine government, the Luzon convention and Vietnam.

Donations can be made online at the BWA website.

PCUSA'S Response:
PDA Response

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is working with our partners, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP). The NCCP has been monitoring the situation through its member churches, regional ecumenical councils and people’s organizations in the affected areas. Local churches in the affected communities have been immediately opening their premises as evacuation and relief centers and providing basic humanitarian assistance of food, drinking water, nonfood relief items, basic medicines and personal hygiene necessities.

Action by Churches Together (ACT) is cooperating to provide assistance to poor urban communities in the riverside areas of Quezon City; there, in addition to the loss of homes and possessions, most residents have also lost their means of livelihood as factory workers, tricycle drivers and small vendors. ACT is preparing a package of relief goods, including food, water, clothes, candles, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, pots and pans, etc., that will be distributed to the most vulnerable families affected in this region.

ACT is preparing an international ACT appeal to provide additional assistance of food, drinking water, nonfood relief items, basic medicines and personal hygiene items. Support for local partners will include transportation, communications and operational support for volunteers and relief coordinators as well as design of relief packages that are compliant with Sphere Minimum Standards of disaster relief, monitoring and reporting.

The ELCA's response is here. The ECUSA's response is here and last but not least, many Roman Catholics are helping out alongside their Protestant brothers and sisters:
Philippine churches work frantically on relief for storm victims
Wednesday, 30 Sep 2009
More news

By Maurice Malanes

Churches and church-based organizations in the Philippines are helping thousands of families, who have lost relatives, homes and other properties after a tropical storm unleashed torrential rains for nine hours, flooding Metro Manila and neighbouring provinces.

As of 28 September, the government's National Disaster Coordination Council reported 144 people killed, four missing and 23 injured as a result of the storm "Ketsana" two days earlier, locally known as "Ondoy". It said the numbers of victims are expected to increase.

"We are concentrating on massive relief operations. The system is overwhelmed, local government units are overwhelmed," the disaster council's head, Anthony Golez, told reporters. "We were used to helping one city, one or two provinces but now we were following one after another. Our assets and people are spread too thinly."

The nine-hour deluge left some areas of Metro Manila, a sprawling city of 12 million people, under six metres (20 feet) of water.

Protestant and Roman Catholic churches and organizations such as Caritas Manila, a Catholic agency, immediately responded, delivering at least 1000 bags of relief goods to hundreds of families on 27 September.

(Read on: Here).

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