Boniface Outreach
St Boniface_22
St Boniface_22
EPISCOPAL RELIEF & DEVELOPMENT RESPONSE SUMMARY
 
For 75 years Episcopal Relief & Development has worked closely with the Anglican Communion and ecumenical partners to help more than 3 million people in nearly 40 countries worldwide to overcome poverty, hunger, and disease through multi-sector programs.  An independent 501(c)3 organization, ERD helps communities rebuild after disasters and develop long-term strategies to create a thriving future.
 
Scroll through the reports below to read how this independent relief and development agency of the national Church brings the generosity of compassionate Episcopalians and friends to heal a hurting world.
 
Please continue to pray for all those affected by disasters, for those who have lost loved ones and livelihoods, and for those who are working to help communities recover. Your donation to ERD will enable this important work to continue.  You may visit their website or write a check to St. Boniface (marked ”for ERD”).
 
— Ginny Hitchcock, Saint Boniface ERD Liaison
 
ERD Helping Syrian Refugees since September 2013 and their continued response (November, 2015)
 
ERD Responds to the Floods in Texas (June 4, 2015)
Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the Episcopal dioceses of Texas and West Texas in response to severe flooding caused by weeks of heavy rain. The extensive flooding began May 24, with some areas receiving 20 inches of rain. In Texas, 27 people died as a result of the storm, and 10 are still missing. Thousands of homes were destroyed or damaged, and roads and bridges were washed out.

ERD’s Partners in Response teams accompany churches in disaster-impacted communities as they discern their role in the recovery process.  Church teams in both dioceses convened quickly to identify community needs and see how churches could be of unique help.  They are providing pastoral care and conducting needs assessments where people lost homes and belongings to the floods, and church facilities are acting as bases for outreach.  ERD support will assist households with gas, groceries, and repair supplies, as well as storage for salvaged belongings and temporary housing for evacuees.  Response planning now is focused on low-income households that are uninsured or underinsured, as well as people with disabilities who might need extra assistance.  Church networks help ensure that vulnerable neighbors are included.

In one of the most heavily affected areas, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Wimberley and St. Mark’s in San Marcos have mobilized Flood Response Committees.  In Houston, the archdeacon for the Diocese of Texas led the diocese’s Spiritual and Emotional Care team through the Meyerland neighborhood, where there was significant damage. The trained lay and ordained volunteers distributed cold water and gift cards for repair supplies, and listened to residents’ storm experiences. They also offered information about how to connect to local and national disaster recovery resources and services.
They are still very early in the disaster cycle, where people are ripping out carpet and drywall or just trying to figure out what to do – depending if they own or rent their home, whether they had insurance or not, if they have somewhere close-by where they can stay while they sort things out.  Getting out into the neighborhood to provide pastoral care and gift cards helps churches connect with people who may need help toward long-term recovery. They will start to know in the coming weeks where those longer-term needs are and how ERD can help.

In addition, the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma is responding to two waves of severe storms on May 6 and May 10 that brought tornadoes and flooding. In Texas, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Lindale (Diocese of Texas) is assisting in Van, where a tornado and subsequent flood on May 10 destroyed a significant number of homes.  ERD is working with the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas to develop a response plan. ERD has also been in contact with the Episcopal dioceses of Arkansas and Louisiana following the storms.

To enable Episcopal Relief & Development to respond to disasters in the United States, please donate to the US Disaster Response Fund.or give a check to St. Boniface, marked ERD Texas.
 
ERD Responds to the Earthquake in Nepal
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, causing severe damage and loss of life. Tremors were felt across the region, with further loss of life in India and Bangladesh and on Mount Everest, where an avalanche killed 17.  Mobile phones and other communications networks have been disrupted, hampering efforts to gain information from the area closest to the epicenter of the quake.  Damage at Kathmandu's airport is affecting relief operations.
 
The isolated mountain communities in most need of help are also the hardest to get to, normally accessible only by foot.  Getting assessment teams there to gather information and transporting the urgently needed relief supplies will be challenging.  At present search and rescue efforts are being carried out on foot and by helicopter.
 
ERD is working with the ecumenical ACT Alliance in Nepal and local partners in northern India and southwest China to respond to the immediate needs for food, clean water, and shelter, as well as the need for accurate information from on-the-ground assessment. The ACT Alliance coordinates with major international groups such as UN OCHA to maximize the efficiency and impact of aid by mobilizing local networks to reach remote areas.
 
In addition, ERD is in contact with the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia to support the work of the Deanery of Nepal, which is part of the Diocese of Singapore.  The organization also supports other partners in the region, including CASA (the humanitarian arm of the National Council of Churches in India) and the Amity Foundation (an independent Christian organization in China).
 
Please pray for all those impacted - for the search and rescue teams who are working to save lives and for the country of Nepal as it copes with the loss of life and destruction of homes, businesses, and religious sites.  To help ERD support its partners’ emergency relief efforts, please donate to the Nepal Earthquake Response Fund, either on-line or by a check to St. Boniface, marked ”for ERD.”
 
Helping Stem the Ebola Crisis  
With the death toll from this virus escalating, ERD (the independent outreach arm of the Episcopal Church) is working closely with the Episcopal Church of Liberia and the Anglican Diocese of Bo in Sierra Leone to help stem Ebola’s spread and care for those in need.  Partners in both countries are mobilizing local volunteers to promote accurate information about the virus in person, by radio and with posters.  ERD is also at work distributing critical medical supplies and food since shipments of these essentials have been restricted.  “The trusted reputation and widespread networks of the Church in Liberia and Sierra Leone have enabled a swift and effective response to the Ebola crisis,” said Abiy Seifu, Senior Program Officer. “They are able to mobilize and reach people at the grassroots level with accurate information and help for those most in need.”
 
Responding to the Central American migrant crisis in the US, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and the Ebola crisis in Africa
Since early July ERD has been supporting St. John’s Episcopal Church in McAllen, TX, which is part of the McAllen Faith Community for Disaster Recovery, assisting with meals and laundry for the migrant individuals and families sheltering in and around the town’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church.  The parish is also providing about 100 nutrition/hygiene packs a day for those traveling by bus to relatives in the US.  ERD coordinated a conference call with Episcopal Migration Ministries that brought together leaders from Episcopal dioceses of Texas, West Texas, Fort Worth, Rio Grande, Oklahoma, Arizona, Los Angeles, and San Diego as well as the church’s Office of Government Relations and several EMM affiliates.  Depending on local need, these dioceses are providing aid similar to St. John’s, as well as working with authorities to gain access for clergy to provide emotional and spiritual care to migrant children in government custody, supporting foster families housing children without family in the US, and providing accompaniment and case management for both children and families.
 
Since mid-July ERD has been supporting Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City and St. Luke’s Hospital in Nablus, both run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.  Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on earth, with 30 hospitals operated by the Palestinian government, local and international faith groups, or non-governmental organizations.  Al-Ahli provides care to the community regardless of faith or ability to pay, including psychosocial support for patients and families severely traumatized by the on-going violence.  Despite structural damage to the hospital from airstrikes, Al-Ahli staff have maintained round-the-clock presence and care for those who have been wounded.  Medical supplies and fuel for electric generators are in short supply, and the hospital’s food stocks are stretched as they provide for patients, their families, hospital staff, and those from the community seeking aid.  ERD’s assistance provides support for fuel and food, enabling the hospital to continue its life-saving work during this most challenging time. 
 
Finally, since early August ERD has been working with the Episcopal Diocese of Bo in Sierra Leone and the Episcopal Church of Liberia in response to the Ebola epidemic that began in Guinea.  Through its local partners it is supporting efforts to raise awareness as well as providing personal protection equipment and disinfectants to under-resourced hospitals and clinics in the affected areas.  The Diocese of Bo is extending its existing health programs to reach key community leaders such as priests, imams, traditional healers, and chiefs with training on how to promote accurate information and encourage correct prevention and treatment.  The diocese is also mobilizing its network of local health volunteers to reach children and youth in schools and to directly reach 20,000 individuals through community meetings and home visits.  In Liberia, the local Church is providing necessary medical and sanitation supplies to hospitals and clinics.  Bleach, disposable gloves and hand sanitizer will help sanitize health facilities and protect health workers.
 
 
ERD Responds to the Crisis in South Sudan
In mid –December 2013 a conflict erupted within South Sudan – the world’s newest nation - between militia loyal to opposing political factions.  Since then approximately 743,400 people have been displaced.  Approximately 54,000 have sought refuge at UN bases inside South Sudan, but thousands are sheltering out in the open, with little security and scant supplies. One church compound alone is housing nearly 16,000 people, with many more in adjacent open areas. The scale of the displacement, combined with limited local resources and infrastructure for absorbing large populations at short notice, have presented huge challenges.
 
People look to the church for care and leadership in times of crisis.  The ECSSS archbishop appointed an Emergency Crisis Committee to coordinate with the wider humanitarian community and prioritize resources.  ERD has been providing technical assistance and financial support to the Sudanese Development and Relief Agency (SUDRA), the humanitarian wing of the ECSSS.  In addition, ERD has been part of an Anglican Alliance - a group of Anglican Communion organizations that are supporting the relief and recovery – to provide a unified response to the crisis.
SUDRA developed a two-phase response to the crisis. Phase 1 has been addressing the urgent needs – food, water, and medical care – to 44,000 people in three areas unreached by other aid.  Scarcity of food is major concern, and children are particularly at risk of malnutrition.  SURDRA is providing cooked food for children through the church’s nine relief centers.  ERD support has enabled SUDRA to purchase milk, rice, and sugar for the feeding program, as well as charcoal and utensils for cooking and serving.  Volunteers are distributing food packs, which contain staples such as cornmeal, beans, lentils, and milk, as well as bars of soap for proper hand washing to curtail the spread of disease in the camps. In addition to food, there is acute need for shelter materials, cooking utensils, and adequate water and sanitation.  ECSSS clinics are providing medical care with antibiotics, oral rehydration salts, malaria test kids, and first-aid supplies.  The church is also providing logistical and pastoral support for displaced people, with youth volunteers helping to assess needs and organize services in the camps.  This needs assessment and the registration of the displaced people is providing critical information to guide recovery and redevelopment and prevent duplication of efforts. 
 
The long-term recovery work in Phase 2 will focus on resettlement and rehabilitation of the communities and include psychological counseling and programs to foster reconciliation – an on-going part of the ECSSS ministry.
 
Many of the ECSSS teams have received prior training from SUDRA in partnership with ERD.  Because of the church’s long-term presence in communities throughout the country, it may play its biggest role during the long-term recovery. The church’s long-term development programs aim to empower vulnerable and marginalized peopled to improve their lives and communities. 
Your donation to ERD will enable this important work to continue.  You may give a check to St. Boniface (marked ”for ERD”) or visit the ERD website. 
 
 
ERD Responds to Crises in Colorado, Syria, and Mexico
Colorado.  Flooding in a high-country desert was not expected, and few people had flood insurance.  In the Diocese of Boulder, the Office of the Bishop determined that all of its clergy were safe (although some have damaged homes) and that none of the church buildings suffered catastrophic damage.  First responders and agencies provided immediate emergency and evacuation help throughout the 17 affected counties.  But now churches and other local organizations will have an increasingly large and important role to play in long-term relief and rebuilding.   They have been contacting parishioners to determine their safety and immediate needs, which is much more difficult in some places than in others.  They have also begun to reach out to those least likely to have personal resources to deal with the disaster; St. Aidan’s in Boulder has already provided overnight shelter for the homeless and helped University of Colorado students who have suffered losses.  Churches will continue to assess the impact and determine where needs are.  They will be identifying the gaps between federal assistance and assistance from community agencies and how the church can help fill those gaps.  ERD has been helping and supporting the diocese and churches in all these tasks, as well as providing resources on its website to help churches and parishioners following a disaster.  

Syria.  ERD is responding to this ongoing crisis through two local partners:  the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches (FMEEC) in Syria and the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf (HLID) in Jordan. The FMCC is supporting local churches by providing food and essential items such as medicine, blankets, clothing, and rent assistance for families that have chosen to stay in their homes rather than be displaced to refugee camps outside the country.  It is as been able to sustain families in areas that are largely unreachable by outside aid.  The HLID has provided assessment, diagnosis, counseling, rehabilitation, and follow-up services to those with hearing, vision, physical, or cognitive disabilities.  The long-term presence and relationships of ERD’s partners in these communities enable them to understand and navigate situations that have proven challenging to others.

Mexico.  Although the Diocese of Cuernavaca and its congregations have not been impacted by the mudslides, they are positioning outreach teams to help shelter those made homeless and to provide food.  ERD will be supporting these efforts.
 
 
On the Ground Following Tornado Wreckage and Ruin
Episcopal Relief & Development has been in contact with local partners in the Episcopal dioceses of Fort Worth and Oklahoma following tornadoes on May 16 and May 20 that caused severe damage and loss of life.
 
Local responders and authorities are currently assessing the situation in Moore, Oklahoma, just outside Oklahoma City, where a two-mile- wide tornado leveled neighborhoods and destroyed two elementary schools on the evening of May 20.  Katie Mears, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Director of US Disaster Preparedness and Response, has been in contact with the Rev. Canon José A. McLoughlin, Canon to the Ordinary, and anticipates partnering with the diocese to assist those most vulnerable following this disaster.
 
On May 16, an EF-4 tornado hit the town of Granbury, Texas, killing six people and destroying 97 of the town’s 110 homes. Other tornadoes touched down in Cleburn and Millsap, south and west of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. The Rt. Rev. Rayford B. High, Jr., Provisional Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, posted a message on the diocesan website asking for prayers and noting that the diocese will work with the local Episcopal congregation in Granbury to determine how best to use collected funds.
 
As inclement weather continues battering the country, please pray for people at risk, those who have lost loved ones and homes, and responders working to save lives and address needs.  ERD welcomes your support for these efforts.  You may donate to ERD directly by visiting their website, or making a check payable to Saint Boniface and noting “tornado relief” on the memo line.
 
 
ERD Update: Six Months after Hurricane Sandy (May 2013)
Six months after Hurricane Sandy washed over coastal barrier islands and caused an estimated $50 billion in wind and flood damage, the Episcopal dioceses of Easton, New Jersey, Newark, New York, and Long Island are continuing to aid impacted communities and facilitate recovery.  ERD is currently supporting the disaster recovery coordinators in the dioceses of Easton, New Jersey, and New York, and has helped establish a regional volunteer coordination hub to connect mission teams with projects in all impacted dioceses.  These coordinators are working with Episcopal congregations, ecumenical and community-based groups, and a range of government agencies to assess needs and organize response activities.
 
In late October, when weather predictions indicated that the storm's impact would be heavy and widespread, ERD’s US Disaster Program contacted dioceses in Hurricane Sandy’s path.  It had already reached out to partners in the Caribbean, where the hurricane had blasted through Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba.  Dioceses and congregations in the US were encouraged to review their disaster preparedness plans and identify how they could expand existing ministries to address anticipated post-disaster needs.
 
Following the storm, ERD gathered information from key diocesan staff about where damage had occurred and what the most pressing needs were.  Many Episcopal congregations launched into action, expanding their feeding ministries, providing basic supplies and gas cards, and hosting community agencies that connected people to services and federal disaster funds.  Many parishes also held events such as movie nights and community meals to provide respite from the stress of dealing with the disaster and to create space for people to talk about what they were going through and to receive pastoral care.

While relief activities still continue in some areas, the recent focus of the dioceses has been to strengthen the capacity of regions and congregations to rebuild and recover.  The diocesan disaster recovery coordinators are organizing volunteers and helping to develop ministries that will serve communities long after hurricane recovery is complete.  The New Jersey disaster recovery coordinator, a retired federal disaster management expert with 30+ years of experience, sees storm response as an opportunity for the Episcopal Church to grow in service and in community - for parishes to connect with each other, develop mission capacity, and serve their community in a disaster.  "Every day in New Jersey is a disaster for someone, and this storm is how the Church remembered it has responsibility for everyday vulnerable people.  People are stepping up, being called to do more."  St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Keansburg opened its parish hall the day after the storm so volunteers could make sandwiches and offer food in spite of the power outage.  St. Mark’s still serves 125 people two meals a day and has connected with New Jersey Hope and Healing, which provides social workers, mental health services, crisis counseling, and nurse visits. 

On Staten Island, the Episcopal Diocese of New York’s disaster recovery coordinator is also focusing on building relationships with impacted community members and organizations in order to build homes for the most vulnerable residents impacted by the storm.  As a retired NYPD sergeant, he has extensive experience in organizing and directing teams of people.  Coordinating with case managers from a Lutheran organization active on Staten Island, he finds work sites that require insulation, sheetrock, plastering or painting, and then matches volunteer teams with those skills.  He also meets frequently with fellow members of the Staten Island Community and Interfaith Long-Term Recovery Organization, and particularly the rebuilding committee, to discuss progress and address challenges.  At one job site, a group of construction workers from [Clark Construction in] Maryland completely rebuilt a home in three days.  They donated the materials and the skilled workers, did the trim work, and left two welcome mats at the doors.  They wanted to paint but ran out of time.  And the company even made a very generous donation to the rebuilding effort.

Now congregations across the country are creating or reviewing preparedness plans and making contact with other churches and community-based organizations.  ERD’s US Disaster Program offers free resources for preparedness planning and information for disaster response ministries on its website and also offers support through the Partners in Response team and Diocesan Disaster Coordinators.  See www.episcopalrelief.org/USDisasterProgram.

 
Hurricane Sandy Recovery (November 2012)
Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) has been providing emergency grants to the Episcopal dioceses of New York, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut to support the work of their parishes to meet the immediate needs of the most vulnerable affected by the devastating Hurricane Sandy. On ERD’s website, www.er-d.org, press releases on November 2, 5, and 7 detail the work of providing shelter, food, water, warm clothing, blankets, generators, and fuel.
There were many days of no power or transportation, and churches within New York City were particularly concerned about people on upper floors of high-rise apartments who were unable to acquire water and food. Outside New York City, there was also much isolation from lack of power and fuel. The dioceses encouraged church communities to bring supplies to local resource distribution centers. Churches then mobilized to distribute relief supplies, extend the reach of their food pantries and thrift shops, provide shelter and warmth to people evacuated from low-lying areas, and offer badly needed pastoral care.
 
The immediate relief phase of the response is now winding down, but the need for local volunteers, cleaning supplies, construction materials, furniture, and appliances will continue well into the recovery phase. ERD is now also providing technical support for the effort by working with diocesan leadership to craft a regional approach to begin the long-term work of rebuilding.
 
Just last week members of ERD’s Partners in Response team spent a week in New Jersey, visiting areas affected by the storm, and then trained eight deacons from the diocese on how to facilitate FEMA disaster assistance registration and on pastoral care for caregivers. The deacons were encouraged to recruit volunteers from their congregations who could accompany people through the processes of applying for disaster assistance funds.
 
Please support ERD’s continuing relief and recovery efforts by donating to the Hurricane Sandy Fund, either by a check to St. Boniface (marked ”For ERD”) or on the ERD website. Because of the generosity of a group of donors, all gifts to ERD by December 31 will be matched up to a total of $300,000! So every tax-deductible dollar will have double the impact.
 
And, as always, please keep those who have suffered devastating losses, relief workers and others who have travelled to the disaster areas to provide help, and local volunteers in the dioceses in your prayers.
 
Please help support this relief and recovery work by contributing to the Hurricane Sandy Response Fund through a check to St. Boniface (marked “For ERD – Sandy”) or a donation on the website www.er-d.org.
 
 
ERD Continues its Critical Work of “Healing a Hurting World" (September 2011)
It has been a year of fires and floods, earthquakes and hurricanes, hitting both places that expect them and places that don’t.  
 
After the horrific earthquake/tsunami in Japan and the catastrophic tornadoes/flooding in the southeast US in the spring, the fall (so far) has brought Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene.  As reported in our September Bulletin, after the huge, slow storm swept from North Carolina to Vermont, ERD was in immediate contact with the affected dioceses.  
 
ERD has just released new information about what its US Disaster Program doing to help the Northeast with recovery from the historic flooding caused by the storm.  It continues to communicate with the dioceses worst hit, working with them to assess needs and identify ways that churches in effected areas can respond.  So far, programs are being developed at the diocesan level in Vermont and at a parish in the Diocese of Central New York.  ERD will also provide additional support to purchase heaters and other necessary appliances for uninsured homeowners in preparation for winter.
 
Members of ERD’s Partners in Response team will travel to the dioceses of Vermont and Albany.  The Partners in Response have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share and are sent to dioceses that need someone to answer questions and help guide diocesan and parish leaders through the stages of recovery.  Both the Diocesan Disaster Coordinators and Partners in Response receive training and support from ERD’s US Disaster Program.  They are part of the Program’s strategy to help dioceses and congregations in the United States plan for and respond to crisis situations. 
 
In addition to its relief work, ERD’s many development programs and projects continue in Asia, Africa, and South America.   And its NetforLife campaign continues to work toward the goal of distributing 7 million insecticide-treated nets in 17 malaria-endemic countries across sub-Saharan Africa.  More details on all these programs are available here.
 
Relief in the Wake of Hurricane Irene (August 2011)
Millions were impacted by the immense Hurricane Irene that blasted from North Carolina to Vermont.  As communities begin to assess the damage, many dioceses will be able to respond to the needs of their most vulnerable neighbors.  ERD has already been in contact with a number of these dioceses and is working with local Diocesan Disaster Coordinators and their diocesan leadership to see what needs to be done and how churches can help.  Diocesan Disaster Coordinators are appointed by bishops and then trained and supported by ERD's US Disaster Program staff to help dioceses and their constituent parishes create disaster preparedness plans and respond in emergencies.
 
ERD’s U.S. Disaster Program:  Immediate Relief to Long-Term Recovery (June 2011)
Since early spring, ERD has been helping Episcopal diocesan disaster coordinators and leaders throughout the U.S. where there have been unprecedented catastrophic tornadoes and flooding.  Immediately after two waves of tornadoes swept through the south and southeast in April, ERD supported relief work in the dioceses of Alabama, North Carolina, East Carolina, and East Tennessee, as communities and relief agencies helped people salvage belongings and start planning how to rebuild.  More recently, in addition to the tornadoes that hit western Massachusetts, historic floods have been affecting communities near the Mississippi River and its tributaries.  From Louisiana to Montana, populated areas and hundreds of thousands of acres are underwater as heavy rains and melting snow continue to overwhelm river systems. ERD has been in contact with the Episcopal dioceses of Louisiana, West Tennessee, Missouri, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana to provide assistance as needed.
 
Although ERD helps fund immediate relief efforts, such as providing temporary shelter, food, household goods, and gas vouchers, its U.S. Disaster Program focuses mainly on preparedness and long-term recovery.  Episcopal churches have excellent organizational capacity, are very good at helping people, and have unique knowledge about how their specific areas can recover, so ERD’s strategy is to build on the resources and connections that congregations already have to mitigate damage from a disaster and then to help the community recover afterward.  First responders generally leave after the relief crisis phase is over, but for local Episcopal congregations, this is home.
 
The areas affected by the April tornadoes are now moving from immediate relief to longer-term recovery.  ERD will provide assistance as the dioceses determine how best to use their resources to help their people rebuild.  ERD also recently supported a flood-prevention program in the diocese of Kentucky, which helped the community’s efforts to protect the town from rising waters.  ERD will continue to reach out to local dioceses and partners in the flood ravaged areas, and to work with them to assess needs and respond.  By continuing to work through local dioceses and leverage the resources and skills of Episcopal institutions and ecumenical partners, ERD will be able to provide necessary assistance in the short term and help strengthen communities in the long term.
 
Please continue to pray for all those affected by disasters, for those who have lost loved ones and livelihoods, and for those who are working to help communities recover.  To support ERD’s important relief and development efforts in these US communities, please donate to the USA Disaster Response Fund, either through the ERD website (www.er-d.org) or by check to St. Boniface, marked “for ERD.”  The website also contains more detail about all that ERD is doing worldwide as it continues its critical work of “healing a hurting world.”
 
Historic Tornadoes and Flooding in the U.S. (May 2011)
In April ERD responded to the devastation caused by the two waves of tornados that caused catastrophic damage and killed hundreds of people throughout the southeastern United States.  It was in immediate contact with the dioceses in the affected areas and has been working with local churches to minister to affected people.  After such a traumatic event, people deeply need spiritual support, and these local churches provide a safe space to talk through the grief and loss, as well as helping to meet immediate physical needs.  For example, a church in a rural community not served by major disaster response agencies is providing vouchers for essential items, temporary shelter, pastoral care, and funeral expense support for grieving families.  In North Carolina and East Carolina, 16 parishes have been involved in the relief effort.  In Alabama, the diocese organized relief efforts as well a planned to fill the gaps in service when the first responder organizations began to leave.  In the hard-hit Diocese of East Tennessee, ERD has been partnering with Chattanooga’s Metropolitan Ministries, which is heading up the diocesan response.  ERD has also been in contact with the dioceses in Mississippi, Atlanta, and Kentucky and has been working with local partners.
 
The first-response relief phase is now coming to a close.  Rescue teams have completed their searches, and people are moving from emergency shelters to temporary housing.  As communities begin the recovery phase, ERD will work to equip local Episcopal dioceses and congregations with the necessary knowledge and resources to expand existing ministries as well as to plan and implement longer-term needs.
 
ERD also has been helping the dioceses of Mississippi, West Tennessee, Missouri, and Louisiana to prepare for and deal with massive flooding of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers by identifying at-risk parishioners and organizing the congregations to serve the wider community affected by the flooding.  And now they have reached out to the Diocese of Western Missouri and are standing by to offer assistance in the aftermath of the historic tornado that has devastated Joplin.
 
Recovery in Japan Continues (April 2011)
Japan’s recovery from the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March has been made even more difficult by the severe aftershocks and the crisis at the nuclear power plants.
 
The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK, the Anglican Communion in Japan) is continuing its immediate relief work, while developing a strategy to guide long-term recovery.  The Japanese dioceses met on April 12 to improve coordination of relief efforts in the Diocese of Tohoku, which was most severely affected. The assembly decided to conduct a two-month feasibility study, which will assess needs in the affected area and recommend how and where the NSKK should provide assistance. The implementation phase of the response is estimated to last at least two years.
 
In the meantime, the NSKK is providing food and other basic necessities for daily life in areas where local procurement is not possible and people have no means of transport.  Supplies mostly donated by Anglicans in other locations outside of Tohoku area are gathered, shipped to the Sendai distribution depot by large truck, and then delivered locally.  Such activity is regularly taking place in St. Timothy’s Church in Onahama, Grace Church in Kamaishi, and Christ Church in Sendai.  Food supplies are also delivered as needed to St. John’s Church in Isoyama for further local distribution.
 
In addition supply priests have been sent to churches in the Diocese of Tohoku to provide extra help.  St. Timothy’s Church in Onahama, Grace Church in Kamaishi, and St. Savior’s Church in Akita have received priests on a temporary full-time or Friday-to-Monday basis.
 
ERD continues to support and encourage prayer for the NSKK and all those affected by this ongoing crisis.   As the NSKK develops its longer-term response plans, ERD will offer additional assistance.
 
At home, ERD has responded to a catastrophic fire in White Swan, Washington, in early April and to the devastation in the southeastern states caused by two waves of tornadoes later in April.  It is also helping the dioceses of Mississippi, West Tennessee, Missouri, and Louisiana to prepare for and deal with flooding of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers by identifying at-risk parishioners and organizing the congregations to serve the wider community in the aftermath of the flooding.
 
Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami (March 2011)
ERD is supporting the rescue and relief efforts of the Nippon Sei Ko Kei (NSKK; the Anglican-Episcopal Church in Japan) following the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami.  This quake was the strongest to hit the country since officials started keeping records more than 100 years ago.  It is estimated that at least 10,000 people have died, and more than 30,000 from the most devastated areas are still unaccounted for.  It may be weeks or even months before an accurate tally can be reached.  Shelters are accommodating 500,000 people who are now homeless.  Of families still in their homes, 1.3 million were without power as of Monday morning, and 1.4 million were without running water.  In addition, the situation at the Fukushima nuclear plants necessitated evacuating more than 180,000 people living with in a 20-kilometer radius from the plants.  Local authorities continue to screen and treat people for radiation exposure.
In the affected dioceses of Tohoku and Kita Kanto, the NSKK is working as quickly as possible to collect information and assess needs.  Priests are frantically trying to confirm that their parishioners are safe.  In many cases local churches can’t be reached either by phone or by land, so it is impossible to get a complete grasp of the casualties and physical damage.  So far no casualties among the clergy are reported, although the Cathedral in Sendai (Diocese of Tohoku) and two churches in the Diocese of Kita Kanto suffered major damage.  
The NSKK plans to establish an emergency relief center at the diocesan building in Tohoku, with the bishop leading the response efforts.  At the Provincial level, the archbishop is developing a response structure that can deal with a disaster of this magnitude, with a network of volunteers to carry out the relief and restoration work.  After the emergency phase, ERD will continue to support the restoration and rehabilitation of affected areas.  It will coordinate with other Anglican and international bodies, sharing information and ensuring that the overall response follows the vision of the NSKK.  ERD has worked with the NSKK in the past, through regional partnerships to address climate change, peace-building, and humanitarian initiatives.
Outside Japan, the impact of the tsunami is widespread.  Churches and partners around the Pacific region are affected, including those in Hawaii and on the west coast of the US.  ERD is in contact with those affected dioceses and is standing by to offer assistance.
 
Haiti – One Year Later (January 2011)
A major and continuing project for ERD in the past year has been relief and rebuilding in Haiti after the catastrophic 7.0 earthquake in January 2010, which caused more than 217,000 deaths and displaced more than 1.5 million people.  ERD just issued their comprehensive and impressive one-year progress report.  ERD has been able to be so effective because of its long-standing relationship with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, the largest in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most vibrant institutions in the country. The activities supported by ERD and implemented by the Diocese and its relief and development arm, Centre Diocesain de Developpement Integre et de Secours (CEDDISEC) have been carried out in three phases:
 
  • Phase I: Rescue and Relief (January – March 2010).  Food and other goods were distributed to families left homeless and those hosting the displaced.  More than 60,000 people received health care, food, water, shelter, sanitation, and other non-food items.
For example, 35 Episcopal parishes and institutions identified households and individuals who needed food and then distributed the needed supplies.  From local suppliers in the Port-au-Prince market, 87 tons of fish, rice, and oil were distributed to 2,760 families in more than 35 communities.
 
  • Phase II: Relief to Recovery (April – December 2010). Expanded health care services, short-term employment, and the construction of more stable housing and sanitation systems benefitted an additional 40,000 people.
For example, 145 household latrines and showers were constructed alongside new provisional homes; 35 latrines were rebuilt at existing households; public latrines were constructed in 5 communities, serving about 5,500 people; and 510 people had short-term employment.
 
  • Phase III: Recovery and Sustainable Development (January 2011 – 2012).  Families and individuals will be helped to increase their economic independence and promote household and community security.
 
Last Published: November 10, 2015 12:30 PM