AKRON, Pa. — In response to the needs of flooding and earthquake survivors in Asia, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is increasing its appeal for donations to $260,000 Cdn, or $250,000 U.S.
The additional contributions will allow MCC and its partners to respond to extensive flooding damage in southern India and Cambodia and to provide permanent housing for people in Indonesia, where earthquakes devastated entire villages.
Already included in the initial appeal, launched on Oct. 2, is relief for flooding in the Philippines and Vietnam, caused by September’s Typhoon Ketsana. Short-term relief and temporary housing for Indonesian earthquake survivors were also included in the initial amount.
“The destruction, particularly in Indonesia and India, is enormous and for the most part has not been picked up by the media in Canada and the United States,” said Ron Flaming, director of MCC’s International Programs Department. “MCC has an opportunity to support our sister Anabaptist churches and make a difference in these contexts as they offer assistance in the name of Christ.”
In addition to this appeal, MCC is contributing $500,000 Cdn., or $480,000 U.S., from its account at the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, raising MCC’s total relief effort to $760,000 Cdn., or $730,000 U.S.
Money from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank will buy about 1,000 metric tons of rice, which will be distributed by MCC partner Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action in a food-for-work program for longer-term projects, including repairing huts and houses, de-silting agricultural land, cleaning wells and repairing roads.
Late September flooding in southern India, the worst in decades, has killed more than 250 people, left some 2.5 million homeless and destroyed crops and livestock, according to Reuters News Service. The torrential rains that caused the flooding came on the heels of drought.
MCC also is working through another partner, Mennonite Christian Service Fellowship of India, to provide immediate distribution of rice, lentils and blankets to families affected by the flooding. Mennonite Christian Service Fellowship of India is a service and fellowship organization of the eight Mennonite, Mennonite Brethren and Brethren in Christ conferences in India. The MCSFI relief effort is in the heart of the Mennonite Brethren area and is being implemented by Mennonite Brethren Churches.
In Indonesia, MCC will rebuild homes in the village of Guci, where about 95 percent of the homes were destroyed, and in the city of Padang. MCC’s partner, Mennonite Diakonial Service, the disaster response arm of the Muria Mennonite Synod, is
providing health care, trauma healing exercises and locally purchased relief packets of food and other necessities.
Cambodia, included in the updated Asia Disasters appeal, also experienced destructive flooding from Typhoon Ketsana. The storm killed more than 40 people and destroyed tens of thousands of rice paddies in Cambodia. MCC representatives in Southeast Asia are working with partner organizations to determine the best way to help flooding victims recover.
Although MCC works with partners to provide immediate emergency assistance in the case of disasters like these, MCC’s mid-term and long-term disaster responses are just as important, said William Reimer, director of MCC’s Food, Development and Material Resources program. “After the flood waters recede, then we have to deal with the big disasters of hunger, disease and joblessness,” Reimer said.
“For example, in response to the Indonesian earthquake, MCC is providing immediate relief but is assessing and planning carefully with our experienced partner, Mennonite Diakonial Service, for mid-term transition housing,” Reimer said. “MCC is also spending the majority of its resources designated for Indonesia on long-term housing.”
MCC continues to monitor needs in Laos, but initial reports indicate that other organizations are managing the needs there.
In the Philippines, MCC worker Bruce Glick, of Millersburg, Ohio, is consulting with the Integrated Mennonite Churches of the Philippines to determine the best way to provide relief.
In Vietnam, assessment of the need continues in cooperation with potential partners.
Financial contributions may be made to any MCC office, online at donate.mcc.org or by telephoning toll free:
In Canada: 1-888-622-6337
In the U.S.: 1-888-563-4676
Gifts should be designated for MCC’s “Asia Disasters.”