Nepalese children begin returning to school in early June, so the distribution of school kits to 4,000 young people with support from UMCOR and IsraAID will make a big difference. Photo: Education International (Creative Commons License)
UMCOR has so far provided about $625,000 in relief aid after a devastating earthquake
By David Tereshchuk*
June 9, 2015—About six weeks after Nepal’s massive earthquake and subsequent tremors, landslides, and avalanches killed nearly 9,000 people and destroyed half a million homes, the country’s battered communities are determined to remake their lives.
And the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), is supporting those efforts by providing clean water, food, emergency shelter, hygiene kits, school kits, and other necessities.
UMCOR is working with a broad range of local and international partners to accomplish its ongoing relief and recovery work. Since the earthquake on April 25, UMCOR’s already has disbursed about $625,000 to meet immediate needs.
“Our first funding grant was made within 48 hours of the initial quake,” said Francesco Paganini, UMCOR executive secretary for International Disaster Response. “And as we’ve deepened our response, the number and types of grants we’ve made reflect the great range of needs.”
UMCOR’s diverse partners in its Nepal relief work include Muslim Aid, the international, British-based Islamic charity; IsraAID, from Israel, whose work extends across 29 countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas; and GlobalMedic, the Canada-based international relief organization.
UMCOR also is collaborating with locally based United Mission to Nepal (UMN) and supporting the relief efforts of the Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development (WAND) Foundation of the Philippines, among others.
Help for vulnerable families
Muslim Aid’s grant enables it to provide emergency shelter kits to families in the Bagmati zone of Sindhupalchok District, where 90 percent of the housing was destroyed. The kits include immediately needed supplies, such as corrugated-iron sheets for roofing, saws, hammers and nails, secure ties, and bamboo for framing.
Working with GlobalMedic, UMCOR has supplied survivors with clean water and hygiene kits, and provided 13 institutional tents for use by schools and hospitals to enable them to continue to offer their services.
With support from UMCOR, IsraAID is distributing school kits to 4,000 young people across four badly hit districts. June marks the return to school for Nepal’s children, and the school kits will make a big difference.
In Paganini’s words, “It’s really important to equip these schoolkids and get them back to the routine of school. We want to restore as much normalcy for them as possible after they’ve experienced such great trauma—often with extended instability.”
“While we move quickly in approving grants,” said Paganini, “we insist on asking the careful questions that donors would want to ask, and on maintaining internationally agreed standards—prioritizing the most vulnerable populations and always striving to be culturally appropriate in our response.”
Your gift to International Disaster Response, Advance #982450 will enable UMCOR to respond in timely and effective ways to emergencies like the Nepal earthquake, working collaboratively with local and international partners.
* David Tereshchuk is a journalist and media critic who contributes regularly to www.umcor.org.