December 13, 2002: Last Sunday, Supertyphoon Pongsona struck Guam. Four people died, 400 were injured, and 32,000 are homeless. More than 1400 houses have been destroyed and nearly that many have major damage. Forty-seven of 110 wells are not operational. The island is part of the Hawaii District, California-Pacific Annual Conference. Tom Hazelwood of UMCOR is working with the conference's officials to assess the needs in order to determine the best response to this disaster. Gifts earmarked for "Guam Emergency" should be sent to Advance #901190-3.
Along with southern Africa, Ethiopia, and Kenya, now Eritrea is facing a food crisis. Four years of erratic rains, which have left many areas dry and unproductive, compounded with the effects of Eritrea's recent war with Ethiopia have created this situation. Famine in these parts of Africa is reaching even more massive proportions than expected. Please give to UMCOR's Advance #101250-4. You may specify Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, or the Churchwide Appeal for Southern Africa Famine.
Cleanup and recovery continue in the southeastern and midwestern areas of the United States where storms did incredible damage last November. Yesterday, Nina Martin of UMCOR led case management training in North Alabama. This week, UMCOR sent a grant of $100,000 to the Louisiana Conference for recovery work there. The needs in Louisiana will be huge. One indicator is that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) now has 170,000 registrations, more than twice as many as were received in the North Carolina storm area.
UMCOR has sent a grant of $10,000 to the Desert Southwest Conference. The conference will add it to their own contribution to help residents in the area of White Mountain recover from the forest fires that destroyed and damaged many homes earlier this year. To assist in the response to this and other disasters in the United States, please give to the Domestic Disaster Response Advance #901670-1.
On behalf of United Methodists, UMCOR assists people in dire need around the world. Yet, even as requests for help grow, contributions to UMCOR's International Disaster Response have diminished. Your contributions allow UMCOR to respond not only to highly-publicized emergencies but also to disasters that receive less media attention. Before the end of this year, please make a special effort to contribute to Advance #982450-8.
During this Advent season, why not send gifts to those in need? Consider contributions to the UMCOR Advances listed above. Or look at the UMCOR "Wish List" on the "Whose Birthday Is It Anyway?" website at http://gbgm-umc.org/umcor/whose.stm. Send emergency kits or bulk commodities to UMCOR's Sager-Brown Depot. Or order UMCOR Christmas cards; the proceeds will go to UMCOR ministries around the world. Kit information can be obtained and card orders made by calling 1-800-554-8583. Visit UMCOR's emergency kits website at http://gbgm-umc.org/umcor/kits.cfm.
Gifts may be made through local United Methodist churches, or by calling 1-800-554-8583. Credit card donations are accepted. (Read more about how you can help UMCOR's emergency responses.)
UMCOR is providing emergency relief in many areas of the world. To find out more about current UMCOR ministries, please visit the website: http://gbgm-umc.org/umcor/ .
During this holiday time, as you give thanks to God for the blessings of the past year, please pray for those who suffer from hunger, poverty, natural and human-made disasters.