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Advent appeal aids disaster recovery

Disaster recovery scene 2021

The Bishop’s Advent Appeal for 2021 aims to be “a surprise of hope for people near and far.” Gifts will support disaster recovery in Michigan, the United States, and countries around the globe.

Bishop David Bard shared an Advent message with The Michigan Conference on Sunday, November 28. He spoke of the anticipated good surprises of the season — joy, hope, and love. He also noted that some surprises are not so good. “I want to invite you to join me in being a surprise of hope to people near and far. I invite you to join me in contributing to the Bishop’s Advent appeal, which will be dedicated to disaster response in Michigan, in the United States, and throughout the world.” 

The bishop lifted up the flooding that hit southeastern Michigan in late July. The Michigan Conference responded with the hiring of Cheryl Tipton, an UMCOR-trained case manager. (Update coming next week.) 

He noted that there have been disasters around the country in 2021. Here is a summary of where UMCOR is at work in the United States.

  • Hurricane Ida: Category 4 Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on August 29, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. UMCOR is working with conference disaster response coordinators to assess the storm’s impact and respond to immediate needs. UMCOR has awarded solidarity grants to the Louisiana and Mississippi conferences.
  • Flash Flooding in Tennessee: UMCOR awarded a grant to the Tennessee Conference in support of immediate relief efforts following torrential rain and flooding in August. The region of middle Tennessee continues to recover from major flooding in March, for which UMCOR also awarded a grant.
  • Tropical Storm/Hurricane Henri: UMCOR awarded a grant to the New England Conference to support relief efforts following the heavy rain and flooding produced by the August storm.
  • Tropical Storm Fred: UMCOR awarded a grant to the Western North Carolina Conference to support relief efforts for flooding caused by the August storm.
  • Wildfires in the West: The California-Nevada and Oregon-Idaho Conferences received grants to aid in the response to the 2021 Dixie and Bootleg Fires. Technical assistance and training are also being provided to the conferences. UMCOR continues to provide assistance for recovery from previous wildfires. The California-Nevada Conference was awarded a grant this year to help rebuild homes after the Camp Fire of 2018.

UMCOR is involved in International Disaster Response in these areas, as well.

  • Earthquake in Haiti: Following a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake on August 14, UMCOR is working with partners on how to best meet the immediate needs of survivors and has awarded three initial relief grants. 
  • Flooding in China: Henan Province has been hit by storms since mid-July, causing widespread flooding. An estimated one million hectares of agricultural lands and infrastructure have been impacted and more than 300 people have died. UMCOR awarded a grant to a partner in support of immediate human needs.
  • Pandemic relief in India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal: In response to the increased COVID-19 global outbreak, UMCOR awarded relief grants to aid efforts of partners through medical equipment and PPE, information and awareness campaigns, food and livelihood support.
  • Volcanic eruption in Congo: After the eruption of Mt. Nyiragongo in East Congo near the city of Goma on May 22, UMCOR worked with the disaster management office of the East Congo Episcopal Area and awarded a solidarity grant to support immediate needs. An additional grant was awarded in August that furnished a one-month supply of food, non-food and hygiene items for 4,600 individuals.
  • Cyclone Eloise in Mozambique: On January 23, Cyclone Eloise made landfall in Mozambique, bringing torrential rain and severe flooding to the coast. The Mozambique Episcopal Area Disaster Management Office was awarded a grant for immediate emergency assistance to address basic human needs such as food, hygiene, and temporary shelter.

Bishop Bard concluded, “Let’s surprise people with hope by our generosity in this difficult season. I thank you for considering this.” 

The Bishop’s Advent Appeal for Disaster Response will be split 40% to International Disaster Relief, 40% National Disaster Relief, and 20% Michigan Disaster Relief. Click here to make a gift online.