UMCOR Hotline 18 Nov 2008: USA, Cuba, DR Congo, Côte d'Ivoire
US: CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES RESPONSE
More than 10,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes in San Fernando Valley and other areas in California where raging wildfires continue to burn. Gusty winds and high temperatures have kept the fires blazing creating a swath of destruction in recent weeks.
A grant from UMCOR will support the California-Pacific Annual Conference's relief efforts for those affected by the wildfires. UMCOR has been in contact with Rev. Thomas Hill, on behalf of Bishop Mary Ann Swenson as well as disaster personnel for stand-by response actions once the wildfires are under control. So far, it is estimated that more than 1,000 homes and 500 mobile homes in Oakridge Park, north of LA, have been turned to ash.
Please keep the people of California in your prayers. You can help UMCOR respond effectively by giving to Domestic Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #901670.
CUBA: WORKING TO BRING RELIEF
Last week, UMCOR's top executive Sam Dixon met with Bishop Ricardo Pereira of Cuba, United Methodist Volunteers in Mission coordinator Aldo Gonzalez and the Rev. Dr. Larry Rankin from the Florida Annual Conference to discuss Cuba's relief effort strategies- now that the US government has allowed UMCOR to enter the embargoed nation.
As a result of that meeting, UMCOR will begin recovery work-rebuilding individual homes, providing emergency food aid and repairing storm-affected churches. Nearly 30 percent of churches in Cuba were significantly damaged.
Cuba suffered almost $10 billion in damages from Hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Paloma. About 450,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and 30 percent of Cuba's crops were wiped out. Dixon urged the need for monetary gifts as supplies would be have to be purchased through the Cuban government, because of no import license. Please support UMCOR's work in Cuba by giving to Cuba Emergency, UMCOR Advance # 3020821.
DRC: FLEEING TO SAFETY
In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), thousands of civilians were forced to flee from their homes into neighboring Uganda to escape the outbreak of violence that has been sweeping the country. UMCOR is working through its partner Action by Churches Together to provide emergency relief to those displaced by the conflict.
Earlier this month, ACT members distributed a 14 day food ration to 150 households in a camp for internally displaced people. A stock of medicine was delivered to a health center and a therapeutic feeding center continues to assist 90 children. The amount of aid to reach those affected is minimal however, because the region continues to be unstable. The most immediate humanitarian needs are for food, sanitation, medical care and psychosocial support. Refugee camps have been raided, forcing uprooted people to once again flee the violence. ACT members are waiting for the violence to subside to proceed with administering the needed aid.
The humanitarian emergency is described as "catastrophic" according to news reports. About 250,000 have been displaced including 60,000 children. Many people have walked for days to reach safety. Support UMCOR's relief efforts in DRC by giving to DRC Emergency, UMCOR Advance #198400.
WEST AFRICA: PROTECTED FROM MALARIA
Magan Ekoua's young children in Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa, are safely taking an afternoon nap under their new mosquito net. Ekou's children were among the thousands of other children that received a free measles vaccination, a Vitamin A supplement, de-worming medication and a net during a national vaccination campaign that took place on Nov. 10-15, 2008.
Nearly one million nets were distributed in Côte d'Ivoire through a collaborative effort between The United Methodist Church of Côte d'Ivoire, The Texas Annual Conference, The United Nations Foundation, United Methodist Communications and UMCOR during the vaccination campaign.
UMCOR-trained volunteers provided malaria education to parents during the net distribution to encourage proper net use and to explain other simple steps families can take to prevent malaria infection.
Download the latest church bulletin to learn more. Share this resource with your church, collect a special offering and help prevent malaria. You can also give to Community-Based Malaria Program, UMCOR Advance #982009.