Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Disaster Recovery: Promise of Abundant Life

Deputy General Secretary Denise Honeycutt, UMCOR, speaks with Bishop Francisco during a visit to Typhoon-impacted Philippines in January. Photo: Ciony Eduarte

By Rev. J. Denise Honeycutt
Deputy General Secretary of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)

It’s absolutely important to respond as soon as possible to a disaster, to be present with the people. In some ways, that’s the easy part. We see the news, it stirs our hearts, and we want to make a difference, and I believe God creates in us that impulse toward kindness and compassion. But we know recovery isn’t done in one moment; it’s a long journey.

In the Philippines, for example, after Typhoon Haiyan last November, UMCOR identified the building of permanent housing as a focus of our long-term recovery work—the typhoon damaged or destroyed more than a million houses. We’ve also provided locally purchased emergency food relief and simple water filtration systems, and are beginning to provide psychosocial care to survivors.

I visited the Philippines in January and was invited into several storm-damaged homes that UMCOR had provided with water filtration systems. One woman kept drinking glasses and glasses of water to show me the water was good to drink. And she was so happy, first of all, because her children weren’t going to get sick. But she also was happy because the money her family had been spending on bottled water could now be spent to start to rebuild their home and put their life back in place.

A GlobalMedic Rapid Response Team representative shares how the water filtration systems works to UMCOR's Deputy General Secretary Denise Honeycutt and International Disaster Response executive Jack Amick in the Philippines.  Photo: Ciony Eduarte

I’m grateful for your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing. They make UMCOR’s immediate and long-term presence with disaster survivors possible. You can—and you are—making a difference, when you give to UMCOR. Thanks to your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing, 100 percent of every dollar given to our disaster response programs supports relief and recovery efforts and helps people reclaim the abundant life God intends for them.

In the Philippines, I walked with our in-country disaster response director, Ciony Ayo-Eduarte, and our International Disaster Response assistant general secretary, Rev. Jack Amick, through some of the communities where UMCOR had provided emergency food relief right after Typhoon Haiyan. And many of the residents recognized either Ciony or Jack, or they recognized the cross and flame imprinted on our truck, and they would stop us and say, “You’re UMCOR! You came to us when we most needed you!” UMCOR was there because of you; it was you the people recognized. Thank you, thank you.

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