UMCOR is rushing food aid to 55 villages in southern Niger where starvation and malnourishment have become 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.
HEKS will use an UMCOR grant to provide 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. The people are in a desperate situation. Last year's harvest was practically nonexistent. Press reports portray families feeding their children grass and leaves from trees to keep them alive.
Keep this Advance alive! Your gifts to UMCOR Advance #101250, All Africa Drought and Famine, Niger, will provide ongoing assistance.
ZIMBABWE: TRANSIT CAMPS "UNFIT FOR HUMAN HABITATION"
Zimbabweans displaced by the government's effort to clear illegally built vending sites and homes are now living in transit camps described by eye witnesses as "unfit for human habitation." Non-existent sanitation is causing rampant illness. Children are missing their year-end exams. Shelter and clothing are no match for the cold winter weather. People in one area have dug small holes in the ground where they sleep at night to fend off the bitter cold.
Food, Blankets, Support
Through a coordinated response by faith based agencies in Zimbabwe, 12 sites have been selected to receive humanitarian aid. General feeding programs, supplementary feeding for children, blankets, tents, sanitation and psycho-social support will be provided. The Zimbabwe Council of Churches will also engage in developing lobby groups at the local level as well as auditing of government action and promises. Please help with a generous gift to newly established UMCOR Advance #199456, Zimbabwe Emergency.
RESOURCES: SHARE THIS NEW BULLETIN INSERT ON SUNDAY
A new bulletin insert that interprets UMCOR's relief efforts in Niger and Zimbabwe is print friendly and quick to download. Find the insert at our resources page on our web site. Consider a special offering to ensure that your heart and hands can continue to work with vulnerable people in these two devastated locations.
US AND MEXICO: HURRICANES PROMPT SPIRITUAL CARE AND KITS
Volunteer teams making repairs from last year's Hurricane Ivan diverted their energies to cleanup duty after Hurricane Dennis carved a ten-by- sixty-mile swath July 10. But more assistance, in the form of both unskilled and skilled labor, is needed from Labor Day through the fall. UMCOR will work with the Alabama-West Florida annual conference staff in a coordinated response.
"Almost Unable to Cope"
The stress from last year's hurricanes and the recent storm has created an anxiety level "that makes people almost unable to cope" when hurricane warnings are issued, said the Rev. Tom Hazelwood, UMCOR's domestic disaster response executive. A focus on spiritual and emotional care is a high priority, he said.
In Mexico, Health Kit Distribution
Residents of Northeastern Mexico, where heavy rains from last week's Hurricane Emily stranded hundreds, will receive health kits in a delivery this week. UMCOR is providing kits and cleanup supplies, and assessing additional interventions, in partnership with the Methodist Church of Mexico.
GIVE - Contributions to United Methodist recovery efforts can be designated to UMCOR Advance #982523, Hurricanes 2005 Global. Contribute online at www.methodistrelief.org .
GO - Want to volunteer to help with hurricane cleanup? Learn how. Write Mission Volunteers, email@example.com , for contact information for your United Methodist Volunteers In Mission jurisdictional and conference coordinators. They'll provide details on how to create, train, and schedule a team. For information on what sites are currently scheduling volunteers call the Volunteer Hotline toll free at 800-918-3100.
UMCOR provides emergency relief in many areas of the world. To find out more about UMCOR's ministries, please visit http://gbgm-umc.org/umcor/ . 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, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068; 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.
And, please pray for those who are hungry, displaced, sick or in poverty because of these and other natural and human-made disasters, and for the workers who minister to them.