UnitingWorld launches Emergency Appeal following Cyclone Winston
Our friends in Fiji are suffering widespread destruction in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Winston, which hit on Saturday 20th Feb. Donate Now
Cyclone Winston, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, flattened entire villages with torrential rain, winds over 300 km an hour and storm surges. More than 40 people were killed and thousands of homes damaged. Hospitals, schools, crops, livestock and water supplies were hit and thousands of Fijians were forced to shelter in schools, churches and community buildings. Many remain there today.
Thanks to your generous gifts, UnitingWorld were able to respond quickly to this disaster, assisting our partner, the Methodist Church in Fiji to work alongside the Fiji government and provide humanitarian relief to thousands of people throughout affected communities. In particular, our partners are providing food, shelter, water purification tablets and cooking utensils, which are critically important for preparing the type of food that is distributed in emergencies and for purifying potentially contaminated water. These materials are being bought in non-affected areas of Fiji, helping to buoy the local economy and sustain the livelihoods of local people.
Our church partner is focusing their efforts on ‘the gaps’ – looking after communities not reached by other agencies and vulnerable households, such as those headed by women or with disabled members.
In response to a direct request by our partner, UnitingWorld were also able to provide training in Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy.
In the aftermath of disaster, people suffer from trauma – they need support to build resilience and cope with their changed circumstances and the people providing that support (often pastors, church leaders and chaplains) need skills to build up their own resilience. Fifty-five women and men attended the first workshop in Suva, which was led by National Disaster Recovery Officer Rev Dr Stephen Robinson and UnitingWorld’s Rev Dr Cliff Bird.
“It’s one of the very unique things we offer after a disaster,” says Michael Constable, who is UnitingWorld’s Emergency Response Manager. “You can imagine how important for long term recovery it is for people to have this kind of support, but it’s not easy to provide. The Church is well networked and with this new training, we’re in a great position to offer emotional and psychological support that will set these communities up for a stronger recovery.”
Longer term, funds raised through this Appeal will be used to rebuild schools and church and community buildings – using a ‘build back better approach’’ to ensure the safety of people in the future.
To support this Appeal you can call UnitingWorld on 1800 998 122 or click here to donate or you can also send cheques to: UnitingWorld, PO Box A2266, Sydney South NSW 1235.
Slow Unfolding Disaster in PNG
An El Nino related drought and consequent famine is unfolding in the Highlands of PNG, Vanuatu and is likely to reach into West Papua.
Thanks to the generous response from UnitingWorld supporters following an urgent request from the United Church in Papua New Guinea, we’re now supporting our partners to deliver urgent food and water purification equipment to hundreds of communities in remote locations, many of whom are suffering hunger and dehydration. Our priority is to get food, water and medicines into worst affected areas, and to make sure people (particularly children) have at least one meal a day – increasing to two as our supply channels grow in efficiency. Essential medical supplies such as rehydration salts and antibiotics for the pneumonia cases that can arise when weakened people work hard to re-establish their livelihoods, should also be delivered in the coming weeks.
When people have recovered from malnourishment our partner’s livelihood re-establishment activities will commence. We’ll supply planting materials – sweet potato vines, corn seed, seed potato and basic gardening equipment where tools have been sold or lost in fires. On behalf of our partner the United Church in PNG, thank you so much for enabling us to respond to this emergency so quickly.
If you would like to support our partner’s emergency response please click here. Funds will be used to directly assist communities throughout drought affected areas in PNG and neighbouring affected communities.
For further reading click here
For more information on this crisis visit: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-19/frost-drought-wipes-out-subsistence-crops-in-png-solomon-islands/6707964
Our prayers are with our partner, the Presbyterian Church in Vanuatu, and the people of the Pacific as they respond to the devastating effects of Cyclone Pam, which struck on the 14th March 2015.
Please continue to pray for our partners during this crisis and if you can, please give generously to our Vanuatu Emergency Fund to support our partner’s long term rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts.
Preparing for emergencies
We assist local communities by providing immediate emergency relief to address urgent needs. We support our partners directly, and through the ACT Alliance, of which we are a member. Longer term development programs assist local communities to get back on their feet during and after times of disaster and destruction. In times of emergency, UnitingWorld responds to the urgent needs of our Church Partners within hours. By donating to the Emergency Relief Contingency Fund, you will ensure that we are able to respond quickly to the request of our partners as emergencies arise.
Click here to donate online now to the Vanuatu Emergency Fund OR call us on 1800 998 122 OR post cheques to UnitingWorld, PO Box A2266, Sydney South NSW 1235.
UnitingWorld stands with our Partners in Africa, Asia and the Pacific in times of emergency and natural disaster.
To give to our Emergency Contingency Fund so we are always in a position to support our partners in times of crisis, please give here.
As UnitingWorld works through international Church Partners of the Uniting Church in Australia, we are unable to respond to every emergency. We request that you support other emergency responses through other international development agencies that we work closely with.