by Linda Espenshade
Mennonite Central Committee is appealing for an initial $100,000 to assist people in Asia whose homes and lives were devastated by recent earthquakes and flooding.
Two earthquakes struck the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, the first on Wednesday, Sept. 30, and the second on Thursday, Oct. 1. The earthquakes caused buildings to collapse and trapped thousands under rubble. On Friday, the United Nations reported that 1,100 people had died.
Earlier in the week, Typhoon Ketsana wreaked havoc elsewhere in Southeast Asia as heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding and mudslides. Hundred of people have died and at least 500,000 were displaced.
Ketsana prompted the worst flooding in the northern Philippines in 40 years when it struck Saturday, Sept. 26, and then continued its deadly path across Southeast Asia. It battered central Vietnam with powerful winds and heavy rain and then weakened as it moved into Cambodia and Laos.
The $100,000 (USD) will be used to provide immediate shelter, food and other emergency supplies to people in Indonesia and the Philippines and to meet longer-term recovery needs in Vietnam. These are countries where MCC has workers or connections with Mennonite congregations.
- In Indonesia, the Mennonite Diakonial Service has sent an assessment team to the earthquake area. MCC anticipates requests for funding to provide emergency shelter and food. Mennonite Diakonial Service is the service arm of the three Mennonite synods in Indonesia.
- In the Philippines, MCC has started communication with the Integrated Mennonite Churches (IMC) to assess the needs. Next week, MCC will send Bruce Glick of Millersburg, Ohio, to the Philippines. Glick will work in cooperation with IMC and other organizations to develop an emergency response plan. MCC has not had a country program in the Philippines since 2005. However, Glick, who worked with MCC for 19 years, will return to the country where he served in 2004-2005.
- In Vietnam, MCC workers are assessing the need as they communicate with the Social Work Committee of the Vietnam Mennonite Church. MCC anticipates the need for recovery funds to help affected communities rebuild once the initial crisis passes.
MCC is aware that needs may increase as Typhoon Parma is expected to hit the Philippines again, north of Manila, on Saturday. MCC is also monitoring the ongoing needs of people in Cambodia and Laos, who suffered damage from Ketsana, too.
Financial contributions may be made to any MCC office, online at mcc.org/donate or by telephoning toll free at 1-888-563-4676.
Gifts should be designated for MCC’s “Asia Disasters.”