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By David Tereshchuk*
The world’s media have made the Republic of Yemen, on the Arabian Pensinsula’s tip, facing the Horn of Africa across the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, all too well-known as a country of turbulence.
Long-standing separatist insurrections, and in recent years activity by an Al Qaeda affiliate have combined to created a climate of perilous insecurity for this nation of 24 million.
But adding to its challenges has been a huge extra influx of population.
Zimbabwe: Caring for Zimbabwe's Homeless
UMCOR is joining other faith-based humanitarian agencies to provide basic necessities to hundreds of thousands of people recently displaced from their homes and jobs in Zimbabwe. Tents, cooking utensils, soap, and emergency food are among the aid to be distributed in the coming weeks.
Many Hands Make Small Work in Sri Lanka
Providing employment for the area's fisher folk who lost their livelihoods in the tsunami was just one of the many reasons UMCOR and the Methodist Church of Sri Lanka started the beach clearing project in Sri Lanka. A clean beach is necessary because it keeps nets from tearing. Initially UMCOR agreed to work with 16 societies to clear fishing beaches. On the day of the planning meeting, 28 societies showed up. With the agreement of the initial 16, all 28 societies were included the project. In one week about 6 miles of beach were cleaned.
Liberia: Forgiveness and Rebuilding Continue at Ganta
Workers at Ganta Hospital in Liberia are practicing the art of forgiveness. Ganta is the only hospital in the northeastern region with a surgeon. The facility reopened in April 2004 after sustaining severe damage during the civil conflict that gripped Liberia for 14 years. Medical staff members are providing health services amid burned-out buildings and replacing looted equipment with home-grown devices made from spare parts.
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UMCOR has received a request from the Shepherd Society in Bethlehem to provide assistance to Palestinians who are suffering severe economic hardship because of the ongoing violence and the closures. Funds will be used to provide food, medicine, utility subsidies, children's school tuition, and trauma counseling. Please support these efforts by giving to UMCOR's Middle East Emergency, Advance #601740-2, and please pray for peace and wisdom in the midst of the escalating violence.
Yesterday, 12 days after an 8.1-magnitude earthquake rocked southern Peru, one of medium intensity struck the same region. Measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, the temblor rattled already frayed nerves and toppled hundreds of previously damaged buildings. UMCOR has sent an emergency grant to the Methodist Church of Peru, which is preparing food parcels of rice, sugar, noodles, oil, salt, and dried vegetables. The Methodist youth are helping to pack and transport the bags to delivery points coordinated by the Red Cross. Another crucial need is funds to help with water system repair.
Recovery work from the flooding caused by Hurricane Floyd in 1999 continues in New Jersey and North Carolina. UMCOR has sent an additional grant for rebuilding work in New Jersey, and disaster response workers in North Carolina continue to discover people who need assistance in repairing and rebuilding their homes. Thousands of volunteers are needed in the coming weeks and months in North Carolina. Please call the Volunteer Line at (800) 918-3100 for more information.
UMCOR continues to monitor the flooding situation along the Mississippi River. Reports from Annual Conference Bishops and Disaster Coordinators have indicated that the flooding so far has affected very few homes. Bishop Palmer of Iowa Annual Conference is anticipating the need of flood buckets, which will be provided by UMCOR.
According to the World Food Program, more than 15 million people in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania are facing a humanitarian crisis of serious proportions. The most seriously affected populations are agro-pastoralists in southern and eastern Ethiopia, Somalia and northern Kenya.