International Disaster Response
When a natural or human-caused disaster strikes outside of the United States, UMCOR serves as the primary channel for United Methodist assistance. In the short term, UMCOR steps in to ease human suffering. In the long term, we work in accompaniment with local partners toward capacity building and Disaster Risk Reduction.
In the aftermath of a disaster, UMCOR cooperates with local bishops, district superintendents, and church leaders to help them develop their own response mechanisms. UMCOR trains disaster response coordinators for each district or region to:
- Categorize disasters
Recognize common phases or stages of disasters
Balance needs vs. capacity to respond
Create a disaster-response plan
Use material resources and volunteers efficiently
Network with local and national partners
Adhere to Sphere Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response & ICRC Humanitarian Code of Conduct
The coordinators use this information and training to network with other local groups and governments to respond to emergencies in their areas. This increases the capacity of local disaster response units.
Disaster Risk Reduction
Even after the initial disaster is over, people are often endangered by future disasters. UMCOR’s Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) program helps communities to identify vulnerabilities and attend to these before another disaster strikes. In the Philippines, for instance, building a retaining wall or planting mangroves can help keep a storm surge from causing extensive damage in coastal communities. Training people what to do in a disaster is also a key step in reducing the damaging effects of future disasters.
Disaster Risk Reduction addresses big problems like environmental degradation, climate change, infrastructural inequality, and political negligence through small-scale, localized solutions.
Even as we administer disaster response grants, UMCOR pays attention to systemic issues related to community health, sustainable agriculture, water and sanitation, education and awareness, economic justice, and reconstruction. This way, we lay the roadbed for long-term development during the disaster response phase, making the paving during the development phase that much less difficult.
UMCOR uses the Hyogo Framework for Action, a disaster response strategy endorsed by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNIS), helping to substantially reduce the number of disaster losses.