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.
Over the weekend, Typhoon Hagibis brought over 35 inches of rain causing catastrophic flooding in Tokyo and the surrounding region. As of October 15, The death toll is over 50 and may rise as rescue workers continue to search for the missing. Power outages and landslide risks are among the most urgent concerns at this time. We have heard from our partners in the area. All are safe, and they are assessing the situation. Week of Compassion will share updates about needs and responses as we learn more.
* * * *
In September of 2018, Hurricane Michael devastated communities along the Florida panhandle, causing severe damage in 12 counties and flooding in many others. Following the storm, Week of Compassion responded immediately through local partners and Disciples congregations to help meet urgent needs in the area.
But recovery does not happen overnight, especially after a storm as severe as Michael.
Executive Director Rev. Vy Nguyen has been traveling the past few weeks, visiting our ministry partners in the Middle East--partners who are working to meet the needs of refugees in temporary settlements. This is his reflection on yesterday's announcement that the U.S. will reduce its refugee admissions cap to an all-time low in the coming year.
In 1990, I was one of 125,000 refugees who were lucky enough to be resettled in the United States. My time in those refugee camps throughout Southeast Asia lasted only four years.
As I woke up this morning to leave Morocco for home, I heard the news that the administration set refugee admissions for 2020 at a devastating 18,000--reducing entries to an unprecedented low and further decimating the refugee resettlement program. I am heartbroken. This policy will have a ripple effect all over the world and impact millions of lives.
Earlier this month, a delegation of Disciples leaders traveled to D.C. to help protect refugees. Rev. Dr. Ike Nicholson, Senior Pastor of South Suburban Christian Church in Littleton, Colorado, was part of that delegation and has this reflection to share. We are grateful for this congregation’s faithful support of Week of Compassion, and for Dr. Nicholson’s powerful story of welcome and compassion. The work that we do to together is more important now than ever.
Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
When we see the devastation, our hearts break for our brothers and sisters.
On September 1, Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas. By the time the storm had passed a day later, the destruction was immense. As of today, September 6, approximately 13,000 homes have been destroyed. An unknown number of lives have been lost, as search and rescue efforts are ongoing. The need is great, and in the wake of such terrible loss, many feel compelled to help. However, knowing how to help can be difficult.
Even as we enter September--National Disaster Preparedness Month-- we are monitoring Hurricane Dorian and preparing to respond to needs that arise in its wake. The storm has already caused significant damage in the Bahamas, and remains a dangerous storm as it approaches the U.S. Please continue to pray for those who have already been affected, and those who wait in the storm’s path. We will continue to share updates on responses as they are available. In the meantime, here is a story about how local churches and regions are taking part in disaster preparedness training through Week of Compassion-- and why preparedness is such a vital part of ministry in the local community.