See how MCC is at work in times of disaster and crisis.
From its beginning nearly 100 years ago, MCC has worked in the name of Christ to make a difference in the worst of times.
That means meeting needs that are in the headlines and responding to disasters that few people have heard about. It means helping people within days of an earthquake or flood and partnering with communities over the years it takes to recover. It means working with trusted partners to identify immediate needs and determining how MCC can best be part of a community’s efforts to rebuild over time.
As you see how we’re responding to crises today, we invite you to pray for those struggling with loss and for the people, churches and other partners delivering assistance and working alongside communities as they recover.
“. . . for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me . . . .” (Matthew 25:35)
Working through long-term partnerships
In late summer 2016, days of rain from a typhoon triggered flooding in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), also known as North Korea, destroying bridges such as the one in Musan County along with homes. MCC, which for years has provided relief supplies such as canned meat and blankets to tuberculosis hospitals, orphanages and other institutions in North Korea through partners, was able to quickly respond with food, MCC relief kits and school kits. MCC also is purchasing corrugated steel roofing for rebuilding daycare centres, kindergartens and clinics.
Responding over months and years
MCC photo/Matthew Sawatzky
After earthquakes struck Nepal in April and May 2015, MCC provided immediate assistance, including food and shelter materials. But by December 2015, winter was coming and many people still lacked adequate supplies. After a distribution of MCC-funded mattresses, tarps, blankets, jackets and other materials, Rama Chepang and others from Bhasbhase village in Dhading district hike back up the mountain to their homes.
Not just disasters that make headlines
Nepal Christian Relief Services photo/Uddhav Chimoria
In Nepal, in addition to an earthquake response totalling more than US$3 million, MCC in the past year has supported at least four other disaster responses for flooding and fires. After a wildfire tore through an earthquake-affected area where people were living in temporary shelters of wood and tin sheets, Mishra Bayalakoti, left, received supplies from MCC worker Juliana Yonzon and Binu Karki of Nepal Christian Relief Services.
Identifying what isn’t available elsewhere
MCC photo/Durga Sunchiuri
In Nepal, government grants are available to rebuild earthquake-damaged housing. So MCC is working with partners to fund projects that aren’t covered under other efforts, including building toilets and latrines, rebuilding some community buildings and helping families earn income.
Matching communities’ priorities
MCC photo/Paul Shetler FastAfter Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti in fall 2016, MCC, recognizing the well-founded fear of cholera from contaminated wells and water sources, prioritized clean water in its initial and ongoing responses. In the first 24 hours after the storm, MCC provided water purification tablets along with relief kits, blankets and food in Cite Soleil, an impoverished area of Port-au-Prince. “These are such a blessing, these are such a blessing for our community,” Hudson Reny-Jean, holding three-cent water purification tablets, said as he pointed to a contaminated well. MCC is also providing materials to build latrines in the Artibonite region, about 65 kilometres north of Port-au-Prince.
Meeting a variety of needs
MCC photo/Matthew SawatzkyMCC strives to respond to the breadth of needs that a disaster can trigger. In Ethiopia, as drought led to rising food prices and widespread hunger, MCC funded daily, hot meals at an MCC-supported school in the city of Adama, helping students such as Besufekad Mesfen, front, and his classmates.
It’s not just MCC reaching out
MCC photo/Matthew SawatzkyIn the countries and communities where MCC responds to crises and disasters, local people are loving and caring for their neighbours, and MCC strives to support them and give them tools to work most effectively. For instance, MCC-supported trauma healing trainings help Syrian church leaders and Syrian responders like Dalia Said to better reach out to people grappling with the effects of years of war and trauma.
“I know myself better now and I know that I’m resilient in the trauma I’m going through,” Said says. And she brings that experience to her work in Aleppo, listening deeply to people’s stories and sharing their pain. As a Muslim working alongside Christians, she also urges youth growing up amid the destruction of war to reach beyond the harm the conflict has caused them and to love those who are different. “Because they have experienced the violence, we don’t want them to grow up and repeat the cycle again,” she says. “God created us all to live together in harmony. He created us to give, to build, to help.”
Working alongside church partners
Middle East Council of Churches photo
MCC support and supplies like relief kits give Syrian partners tangible ways to show love and care to people like this 91-year-old Aleppo woman below — and to be the church, even through shelling and destruction.
“In the midst of suffering, faith does not disappear — it is made stronger for many as they find help within their communities,” says Doug Enns. He and his wife Naomi, who are from Winnipeg, Man., served as MCC representatives for Syria and Lebanon through April 2017.
MCC’s aid helps strengthen the churches to be able to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable in their communities during this time of war and loss.”
The 91-year-old — whose name is not used for security reasons — left her home after a missile hit it last summer and now lives alone. Without a regular income, she relies on help from others and appreciates MCC’s relief kit, filled with hygiene supplies.
“At my old home, my brother used to visit me with his family from time to time, as well as my friends. But now, since the city is witnessing a very bad situation, it’s very difficult to live or even to try to go out to buy food or any other things. I depend on my neighbours and good people like you to get my essential and necessary needs; you are my only hope in these difficult days,” she told workers from the Middle East Council of Churches.
In addition to kits, MCC is providing food, clean water and cash allowances that also bring hope to people like a teacher and father of three in northeast Syria. “When you see these people (who provide MCC cash allowances),” he told a Syrian Presbyterian pastor who distributes MCC assistance, “say thank you to them, because in our bad situation they think about us and give us something out of love.”