UMCOR Hotline 11 Jan 2005: South and Southeast Asia
In Sri Lanka this week, UMCOR international disaster response staff will look at ways to plug gaps in longer-term recovery plans even as the acute phase of the response is only weeks old. Attending the Colombo meeting are the Rev. Kristin L. Sachen, head of disaster response for the United Methodist agency, and Guy Hovey, international operations director. The two will be joined by other implementing agencies.
"Determining where and how UMCOR can be helpful with rebuilding projects will help to relieve stress on local organizations in South Asia," said Rev. Sachen. UMCOR has successfully run large-scale rebuilding projects in Turkey, Afghanistan, and Bosnia. Its expertise may also be needed in Asia.
The Sri Lanka conference is one of several face-to-face meetings that will provide the grist for UMCOR's mid- and long-term plans. Long-term support will hinge on the amount of funds raised by congregations through special offerings and creative fundraising.
In the meantime, more relief is on its way to South Asia. UMCOR this week is shipping a second truckload of health kits that will augment a supply coming from other denominations. Value of the new shipment is set at around $120,000.
In other aid efforts, the Christian Medical Association of India has fielded a dozen medical teams in remote areas. As of December 31, the teams had treated some 1,800 patients who were suffering from shock, infected scratches, and fractures.
You can get involved through giving to UMCOR Advance #274305, South Asia Emergency. UMCOR is also accepting online donations at http://MethodistRelief.org . UMCOR thanks you so much for your generous gifts. Cash gifts continue to be most meaningful in the initial weeks of this response. Yesterday United Methodist contributions to tsunami relief reached $2 million, a figure that incorporates online giving and telephone credit card donations but only part of the boxes of checks received so far. Note that the Internal Revenue Service will allow donors to decide whether to apply their tsunami relief contributions to the 2004 or 2005 tax years, as long as the gift designated for 2004 is made by January 31.
UMCOR provides emergency relief in many areas of the world. To find out more about UMCOR's ministries, please visit umcor.org. 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, 475 Riverside Dr., Room 330, New York, NY 10115; or by calling 1-800-554-8583, where credit card donations are accepted. 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.