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 the United States and Canada, we have the privilege of taking toilets for granted. They are everywhere--just a part of our daily lives. Many homes even have more than one, and they can be found in most public places. Even on a long stretch of highway, one can almost always be found when needed. But in other parts of the world, toilets save lives. Sanitation is among the first, most urgent concerns following a major disaster, and also in the ongoing development work that we support around the world. That’s why today, November 19, is recognized as World Toilet Day in the humanitarian development and disaster response communities.
Typhoon Hagibis made landfall in Japan on October 12, leaving widespread flooding and landslides in its wake in many parts of Central Japan. In just two days the typhoon brought 30-40% of the annual rainfall to the area, and the highest warning level (category 5) was issued in 13 prefectures. More than 7 million people were told to evacuate. The initial death toll was reported at 72 people, and more than 45,000 households were left without power. As Week of Compassion partners continue to assess the situation, 181 rivers in 16 prefectures have breached, and water inundation continues to force the evacuation of millions of people.
Following a disaster, aid workers face tremendous challenges in trying to reach affected areas with immediate supplies like food, water, and medical care. When a community that is still recovering from one disaster experiences another, the prospect of reaching those in need becomes even more daunting.
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.
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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.
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.
It has been an intense week across the Midwest with tornadoes, severe storms and subsequent flooding causing serious damage in many communities. Some Disciples congregations-- such as Community Christian in Jefferson City, MO-- sustained significant damage to their facilities. Other congregations are ministering to members who have lost their homes or been displaced. Week of Compassion has been working with these communities to support individuals and families who have been impacted by the storms
In many communities, however, local Disciples congregations have not been directly impacted. Their buildings have been unharmed, and their members have not sustained loss. In those cases, Disciples are stepping up to serve their neighbors in a variety of ways.