On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck the central Philippines. With a maximum sustained wind of 235 kilometers per hour, it ravaged multiple communities before heading out to sea. Tacloban City in Leyte experienced the most significant impact, as the storm obliterated the entire urban center.
Countrywide, 4.1 million people remain displaced from their homes, of whom nearly 102,000 are living in evacuation centers. 2.5 million people remain in need of life saving food assistance. More than 1.1 million houses were damaged, including at least 550,000 that were completely destroyed. Food relief remains a critical issue, as does the redevelopment of critical infrastructure and livelihood support. Housing, land, and property rights are also emerging concerns.
Through the generosity of Disciples congregations across North America, Week of Compassion has been able to support critical response through several key partnerships:
CWS and ACT Alliance
In addition to the life-saving response highlighted in the ACT Alliance video, Week of Compassion support has also contributed to a collaboration between Lutheran World Relief and Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan in helping to train local organizations playing an active role in disaster response and early recovery on quality and accountability, helping to ensure that best practices are implemented and followed by established partners and newly-launched organizations wanting to help in the recovery.
Agricultural Missions, Inc.
Our partners at Agricultural Missions have responded to Typhoon Haiyan by working to strengthen the capacity of partners and local agricultural and fisher organizations and associations-thus addressing the needs for rebuilding in the current situation, as well as supporting local community efforts to build resilience against future disasters and to lay the groundwork for long-term sustainability.
These efforts will focus on restoring food production and livelihoods of farmers and fisher folk; strengthening the capacity of local partners and community organizations in areas of organizational development and management so that strong local organizations can play a vital role for determining priorities and managing community resources in the recovery effort and beyond; building capacity in community based disaster preparedness and emergency response, empowering local communities to be able to respond immediately and cope on their own, until external assistance is able to reach them; and enhancing education and advocacy with respect to the rights of the displaced. The education and advocacy aspect of this initiative will help local partners and groups to know their legal rights, as well as advocate for protection of such rights so that the most vulnerable and least able to advocate on their own behalf are not at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing resources for reconstruction and retention of use of land and other resources.
Global Ministries and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines
Through a coordinated partnership of the East Asia-Pacific office of Global Ministries and our historic partner, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Week of Compassion has helped support a two-prong response developed by the UCC-Philippines.
As the agricultural sector impacted by the disaster will take a long time to recover, UCC-P will distribute seeds and farm animals to help farming communities re-establish resources for livelihood. Aerobic rice varieties, vegetable seeds, and hogs will be distributed to a number of families for food security and income generation.
In addition to jump-starting agricultural communities, the UCC-P will also provide small motorized fishing boats to fishing communities impacted by disasters, providing an immediate source of income to devastated communities.
Monitoring Domestic Needs
Week of Compassion is also monitoring areas impacted by ice and snow over the last few days and a gas pipeline explosion in Adair County, KY. As needs emerge and are reported, we will respond.
Whether in the Philippines or in a local neighborhood, partnership is at the heart of the work of Week of Compassion. These critical responses and committed partners enable our ability to put your Compassion into Action. You, too, serve as a key partner through your generosity and commitment. Thank you for your commitment, hope, support, and above all, your compassion.
Search opened for Week of Compassion Executive Director
The Office of the General Minister and President (OGMP) seeks a dynamic and innovative leader to serve as the Executive Director for Week of Compassion. The Executive Director serves as a member of the OGMP team with primary responsibility to oversee the relief, refugee and development fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). As the main avenue for Disciples disaster response giving, Week of Compassion also supports refugee assistance, sustainable development and humanitarian projects through denominational and ecumenical partnerships around the world.
The full job description including desired qualities is available here. Applications will be accepted through March 16, 2014. Questions regarding the Week of Compassion Search may be directed to Dr. William Lee, Search Committee Chair, c/o Beth Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week's responses:
Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance
Philippines, Typhoon Recovery