June 22, 2004
Democratic Republic of Congo: "Fluid" Environment
UMCOR has joined many other humanitarian groups in calling for an end to hostilities in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. UMCOR currently operates programs assisting war-affected families in the nation's Katanga province, south of the affected area. An UMCOR official currently on site, Jennifer Poitras, said projects have so far been unaffected by recent disturbances. Field offices in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, and Pweto are operating as usual, after a brief closing in Kinshasa due to security concerns. The environment in the country is fluid, she pointed out, therefore staff are carefully monitoring the situation while considering possible interventions. UMCOR has sent a grant to help provide emergency food to Action by Churches Together, an international alliance of faith-based humanitarian agencies including UMCOR. Your prayers and your generous contributions will assist this effort in a meaningful way. Please give to UMCOR Advance #198400, Democratic Republic of Congo Emergency.
United States: Floods Destroy Homes in Wisconsin and Kentucky
Lowland flooding in Fond du Lac, Randolph, Montello, and Waupun took its toll on more than 150 Wisconsin families last week. UMCOR is providing a grant to the Wisconsin Annual Conference for initial cleanup efforts. In Kentucky, floods and tornadoes affected 600 families in May. An UMCOR grant to the Kentucky Annual Conference will enable the church's response in four counties. In both states, many of the affected persons do not have flood insurance. You can help in two important ways. Your gift of money to UMCOR Advance #901670, Domestic Disaster Response, will assure that funds are available to assist storm survivors in the United States. Your gift of flood cleanup supplies will replenish depleted stocks. There are specifications for supplies online.
Sudan: "Extremely Grave" Emergency Inspires Ecumenical Response
The remoteness of Sudan's Darfur region is challenging humanitarian aid workers as they try to provide basic necessities to internally displaced persons fleeing armed militias. Workers from two international relief networks, Action by Churches Together and Caritas Internationalis, are establishing a health clinic, rehabilitating a school, and providing drinking water. UMCOR is an ACT member. On Sunday, June 20, a plane from the joint effort delivered food supplies, emergency shelter equipment and vehicles to Nyala in Southern Darfur. From there, the load will be transported to nearby camps. Please pray for displaced families of the Darfur area and consider giving a donation to UMCOR Advance #184385, Sudan Emergency.
Zimbabwe: New Funds Promise Schooling for AIDS Orphans
Some 2,000 children in Zimbabwe will be able to complete their education, thanks to a generous gift from an anonymous United Methodist family. The gift will underwrite a six-year UMCOR project to provide school expenses for children participating in United Methodist AIDS orphans trusts. AIDS is a national emergency in Zimbabwe, where up to 3,000 people die of AIDS-related illnesses each week. A million Zimbabwean children have been orphaned by this pandemic. With additional sources of funding, the project could be extended to 10 years. Your gift could help to lengthen the life of this project, which is so critical to the children's well-being. Please consider a generous donation to UMCOR Advance #101218, AIDS Awareness and Children Impacted by HIV/AIDS in Africa, or #982842, AIDS Orphan Trust.
Albania: New Program Starts Up June 29
A new UMCOR office will open June 29 in Tirana, Albania, with ceremonies involving partners, donors, and church officials. Workers in the new location will manage an agricultural development project. As a result of the project, farmers in Albania will soon harvest and market a crop long absent from their region--sunflowers. It works like this. UMCOR will sell about 4,200 metric tons of crude sunflower oil--donated by the US Department of Agriculture--and use the proceeds to implement sunflower production on a scale that will stimulate the local marketplace. Besides introducing foods into a market where food deficits may exist, sales like this also underwrite development activity and energize the economy through creation of new jobs. Albania is a low-income country, with an unemployment rate estimated at 17% to 30%, according to a 2002 World Bank study. A gift to UMCOR Advance #328235, Albania Emergency, will assist in further development in this Balkan nation.
UMCOR provides emergency relief in many areas of the world. To find out more about UMCOR's ministries, please visit umcor.org. 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.