Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
In our weekly updates, we share stories of our presence and impact around the world: from disaster response, to refugee and immigration ministry, to ongoing sustainable development projects in impoverished areas. Catch up on updates you missed, or find stories you want to read and share again! Or, subscribe to receive weekly email updates.
In 2017, Hurricane Maria caused widespread devastation throughout Puerto Rico. In addition to the significant damage left behind, the storm also revealed a pre-existing issue: the islands lacked the infrastructure to deal with the effects of climate change, particularly in relation to power sources.
Shortly after the hurricane, Week of Compassion connected with our partner through Global Ministries, AMANESER 2025, who were already working to build more resilient communities that would be better prepared and equipped to withstand future hurricanes and other challenges.
Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work of our hands--
O prosper the work of our hands! ~Psalm 90:16-17
In South Sudan, a major protracted humanitarian crisis is unfolding, with nearly 70% of the population in need of urgent assistance. Tens of thousands of people are living in famine-like conditions and malnutrition is at critical levels, while more than 7 million are food insecure.
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells. ~Psalm 46:1-4
The past few weeks have been heavy with crises: the desperate situation in Afghanistan, which continues to unfold; the earthquake in Haiti, which killed more than 2,200 and left tens of thousands more without a home; Hurricane Ida, which caused widespread damage in Louisiana and Mississippi, and even as far north as New York and New Jersey; and wildfires that continue to spread rapidly across the western U.S.
Hurricane Ida made landfall in southeast Louisiana on Sunday as one of the most powerful storms in U.S. history. The initial impact caused widespread damage and left many communities --including the whole city of New Orleans--without power and many without water and sewer. As of Tuesday morning, more than a million people remained without power. It's unclear when power will be restored to most residents, but officials believe it may be more than a month for some. At least two fatalities have been connected to the storm so far--though Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said he expects that number to rise. The state received a major disaster declaration, which will allow federal funding for affected residents, businesses, and communities. Emergency and first responder teams, including the U.S. Coast Guard and National Guard, continue operations. Search and rescue teams from more than 15 states are conducting operations in hard-hit areas, according to FEMA.*
Week of Compassion is in touch with partners and church leaders in Louisiana and Mississippi. While we do not yet know the full impact of Hurricane Ida, we do know that damage is widespread. Reports of inland flooding are starting to come in, and we expect more as Ida continues its inland path. Disciples are among the thousands who sustained damage to their homes. At least one Disciples church building was damaged by the storm, though the full extent is not yet known.
How to help:
-Donate to support refugee relief
-Advocate for a robust U.S. refugee resettlement program
-Get involved with resettlement in your local community
-Pray for those who are fleeing violence and seeking refuge
In recent days many of us have witnessed the dire situation in Afghanistan. The Taliban entered Kabul, seizing control as the Afghan government collapsed. As U.S. troops withdraw from Afghanistan, Afghan allies and refugees are seeking to flee the country as the Taliban take over.
As this humanitarian crisis unfolds, Disciples are asking how to help. Week of Compassion is working with partners in the region to provide needed relief and help meet urgent needs. Those needs are still emerging, and the situation is very delicate. But know that gifts to Week of Compassion will go to the partners best situated to respond.
On Saturday morning, August 14, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the south of Haiti. The earthquake was also felt in other Caribbean islands. This earthquake was stronger than the 2010 quake that devastated the nation's capital of Port-au-Prince, and news outlets are reporting nearly 1300 lives lost so far.
Although it is too early to know the full impact of the destruction, casualties, and loss of livelihoods, initial reports from Week of Compassion partners indicate that the impact has been devastating and that hospitals are overwhelmed. Thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed. Communication channels have been affected, as well as infrastructure including roads, which will affect immediate response and create challenges in getting help to those in need.
In Serbia, only 3.9% of children from Roma settlements are included in preschool programs; primary school attendance is compulsory, but not free. Additional costs often prevent poor families from sending their children to school, putting children at greater risk for street involvement and other high risk situations. Barriers to education are especially challenging for Roma children living in informal settlements. The Protection Through Education program (a CWS program supported by Week of Compassion) supports Roma children like Ana*, promoting access to and retention in school.
During 2020, the program was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with school closures and movement restrictions putting all activities on hold. In spite of significant challenges, our partners successfully provided psychosocial and education support for children; advocated for the rights of families; and worked to empower parents by helping them gain access to public services. Families also received packages containing hygiene supplies, food, and clothing.