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.
Even after the initial panic 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.
Disaster Risk Reduction addresses big problems like environmental degradation, climate change, infrastructural inequality, and political negligence. UMCOR incorporates this crosscutting theme into many existing programs, such as disaster response, community health, sustainable agriculture, water and sanitation, education and awareness, economic justice, and reconstruction.
The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNIS) endorsed a strategy in 2005 called the Hyogo Framework for Action. Its expected outcome is "the substantial reduction of disaster losses.” UMCOR uses this strategy international disaster response program.