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UMCOR Hotline 20 Sep 2005: USA, Niger, Sudan, Haiti

Tears streaked down Adlay Callahan's face. But when she talked about her welcome at First United Methodist Church in the small town of Dumas, Ark., last week, her voice softened. "A band of angels" at the church, said one observer, had prepared cots, blankets, towels, food, toys, and TV sets for 70 evacuees from the New Orleans area. Arkansas is hosting some 50,000 people in camps, churches, motels, and military facilities around the state. United Methodist congregations throughout the state have filled 17 tractor trailers with health kits, flood buckets, and other emergency items to supply UMCOR operations in their own state as well as Louisiana and Mississippi. UMCOR plans include assistance to these temporary shelters as well as long-term rebuilding, expected to take years. In the meantime, UMCOR is monitoring reports on Tropical Storm Rita, gathering muscle near the Florida Keys on Tuesday. You can assist survivors of these storms in a meaningful way through gifts to UMCOR Advance #982523.


UMCOR aid is reaching 97,100 people in Niger villages where starvation and malnourishment are epidemic. Drought and locusts have created an acute crisis, according to officials of the humanitarian agency of The United Methodist Church. UMCOR is partnering with Swiss Interchurch Aid, known as HEKS, which has long-term commitments in Niger. The United Methodist Church in Switzerland is an alliance member.

With an UMCOR grant HEKS is providing seeds, cattle fodder, and staple foods such as milk powder in the southern region of Niger, an arid country north of Nigeria and west of Chad. Food aid and sustainable agriculture are examples of approaches to combating famine in vulnerable parts of the African continent. Keep this Advance alive! Your gifts to UMCOR Advance #101250, All Africa Drought and Famine, will provide ongoing assistance.


In quiet Arabic Saba recounted her story of life before the war to a visitor at the office of United Methodist Committee on Relief. She meant before men on horseback plundered and shot up rural Zallingi in West Darfur, Sudan, her home from girlhood. After losing all they had, some of Saba's family fled east and south on foot, and by lorry when they were lucky. Decades of war have displaced millions like Saba -- at the United Nations some say as many as four million, the largest number of internally displaced people in the world. Since February 2005 UMCOR has implemented agriculture programs in South Darfur, helping people like Saba's family to regain their self sufficiency. UMCOR is also working on assisting displaced people in Sudan to find their way home, to return to peaceful farming or work. United Methodists can get involved in these ministries through giving to UMCOR Advance #184385, Sudan Emergency.


The newest head of mission for UMCOR, Patricia Maughan, leaves today for her post in Haiti. Ms. Maughan, who likes to be called Pat, served for 13 years at the World Bank. Her new role with UMCOR will be to oversee the long-term recovery from Hurricane Jeanne that in 2004 stripped areas of the island nation of foliage, homes, and crops. The urgent need in Haiti now is a speed-up of home reconstruction. Security concerns amid civil unrest delayed the UMCOR-Haiti start-up. An important partner in work in Haiti is the Methodist Church there. You can support the work of this office through gifts to UMCOR Advance #418325, Haiti Emergency.