COVID-19 Pandemic response
Our partners across Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu have all been affected by government-imposed preventative lockdowns in these countries. We are in regular communication about how existing activities are likely to be delayed, as well as opportunities to draw on our theological work to reinforce government health messaging.
As the lead agency for the Theology of Disaster Resilience in the CAN DO consortium, we and our partners across the Pacific are drawing on theological messages specific to COVID-19 circulated by the Pacific Conference of Churches, and have adapted these messages for church leaders and influencers across the Pacific.
Cyclones and droughts are increasing the frequency and intensity across the Pacific. We support our partners to prepare vulnerable communities and reduce the impacts of natural disasters. $1 spent in preparedness saves $15 in response later.
Activities include community-based risk assessment and contingency planning, training networks of disaster response chaplains and resourcing our partner churches with Christian theology that gives hope and inspires faith-filled action.
Part of this program includes working ecumenically through the Church Agencies Network-Disaster Operations consortium (CAN-DO) funded by the Australian Government as part of the Australian Humanitarian Partnership Program.
UnitingWorld has taken the lead within CAN-DO on coordinating the writing and development of a ‘Theology of Disaster Resilience in a Changing Climate.’ This work, undertaken by Pacifika theologians following a participatory baseline survey across four Pacific countries, is a resource for communities and churches to explore the meaning of resilience, preparedness and suffering during disaster from a biblical point of view. These resources are available for download here.
In Tuvalu early warning short-wave radios have been installed on all outer islands and one in the capital. Volunteers were mobilised to carry our tree planting and coastal clean-up to mitigate beach erosion. Church leaders developed teaching on God and climate change and were trained in carrying our disaster risk assessments and disaster response chaplaincy.
In Fiji, alongside the Cyclone Winston response, a Disaster Response team was set up and disaster readiness plan developed. A country wide ecumenical network of emergency response chaplains was trained. Re-building after Cyclone Winston were designed to withstand Category 5 cyclones.
In Tonga a network of emergency response chaplains were trained.
In Vanuatu, alongside the Cyclone Pam response, a Disaster Readiness role was created and all rebuilding was designed to withstand Cat5 cyclones. A network of emergency response chaplains was trained.
30 representatives from partner churches participated in a climate change and disaster risk reduction seminar.
Fiji, Vanuatu, PNG, Solomon Islands
Methodist Church in Fiji, Presbyterian Church in Vanuatu, United Church in Papua New Guinea, United Church in the Solomon Islands