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Prayers for Glasgow helicopter crash victims: The Church of England Newspaper, December 6, 2013 December 9, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief, Scottish Episcopal Church.
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The Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway has offered his condolences to the families of the victims of the Clutha helicopter crash of 29 Nov 2013, when a police helicopter crashed into a pub killing at least nine and injuring 32 people

The Rt Rev. Gregor Duncan stated: “On behalf of the Episcopal Church in Glasgow and across Scotland I wish to extend our deepest sympathy to all the families of those who have lost their lives and to those who have been injured in this terrible disaster.”

Approximately 120 patrons were inside the Glasgow pub last Friday evening when a police helicopter crashed into the roof of the building. Chief Constable Stephen House said the two officers and the civilian pilot aboard the chopper were killed, along with six people on the ground.

“We can now confirm that the number of fatalities involved in this incident has risen to eight,” the chief constable said, “fourteen people remain seriously injured in Glasgow hospitals and are being cared for by health colleagues there.”

Dr. Duncan offered thanks for the help provided to the emergency services by volunteers, offering the church’s “gratitude to the many citizens of Glasgow who have come to the help of the people caught up in this tragedy, and praise the exemplary work being done by all the emergency services and medical staff.”

“Our churches across Glasgow, and beyond, will be praying for all those affected by this tragedy and for the whole city of Glasgow,” the bishop said.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Typhoon Haiyan rocks the Philippines: The Church of England Newspaper, November 18, 2013 November 24, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief, Episcopal Church of the Philippines.
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Church aid agencies have issue a call for help following the landfall of Typhoon Haiyan in the Central Philippines.

At least 10,000 people are feared dead around the city of Tacloban, 375 miles south-east of Manila and the death toll is expected to mount sharply after communications are restored to the south-eastern province of Leyte.

The head of the Philippines Red Cross described the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, renamed Yolanda in the Philippines, as “absolute pandemonium” while Philippine Consul General in London said “the world has never seen a storm like this before”.   The Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council stated that approximately 4.28 million people have been affected by the storm, while UNICEF reports 405,000 children are in immediate need of food and shelter.

Oenone Chadburn, Tearfund’s Head of Disaster Management, reported: ‘We’ve been in emergency communication with our partners and their networks of churches, across the Philippines, all weekend.

“Together we’re initiating emergency food distributions and our church networks are planning emergency shelter-and-blanket distributions, as well as child-focused protection work. What we need now is the money to run these,” she said.

On 11 November 2013 the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said his “heart goes out to the people there. We are all deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the loss of thousands of lives and of the suffering of millions as a result of Typhoon Haiyan.”

“Our prayers are with all who have lost loved ones and all those who are traumatised by the disaster and in desperate need of food, water, shelter and medical attention. We pray for those who are most vulnerable in this crisis: children separated from their parents, the sick and injured, the disabled and the elderly.”

“As a Church, we will stand beside the people of the Philippines at this devastating time, offering all we can in practical and spiritual support as the scale of the disaster unfolds,” the archbishop said.

“May the victims of this terrible storm know God’s comfort and derive strength from their faith.”

Episode 85: Anglican Unscripted, November 14, 2013 November 14, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican.TV, Church of England, Disaster Relief, Property Litigation, Quincy, The Episcopal Church.
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Published on Nov 14, 2013

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.

Helping the Philippines: 00:00
GAFCON Update 04:16
Fleeing the Churches 16:00
Legal Update 20:06
GAFCON in England 30:07
Closing and Bloopers 47:15

80 dead in Mozambique flooding: The Church of England Newspaper, February 24, 2013 p 6. March 23, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa, Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, Disaster Relief.
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Church leaders in the Indian Ocean and Southern Africa have launched appeals for aid following flooding across the region.

On 1 Feb 2013 Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean asked for support for the Diocese of the Seychelles after the island was hit by Tropical Cyclone Felleng. The “country and the diocese have suffered heavy losses from the floods,” as “church buildings and other important structures have been destroyed. However we give thanks to the Lord as there has been no loss of life.”

Bishop Brighton Malasa of the Diocese of Upper Shire in Malawi reported his country had been hard hit by floods. He estimated that 33,000 people had been dislocated by flood waters in his diocese.  “We would appreciate humanitarian support such as soap, clothes, cereals, sugar, blankets and tents,” he said.

While floods are common in the early part of the year in southern Malawi, the “oldest people in our communities are saying they have not seen such rains in the past 50 years,” the bishop said.

In the Diocese of Lebombo in southern Mozambique approximately 70,000 people have been displaced by flood waters, Bishop Dinis Sengulane said. “The situation is dramatic and it calls for our response if we are to avoid more damages to the lives of people”.

The flooding had destroyed crops and left “stagnant waters [that] will become favorable places for the proliferation of mosquitoes that bring malaria,” the bishop wrote to supporters in the West in an appeal for “mosquito nets to prevent malaria” as well as “seeds and school materials for children.”

On 31 Jan 2013 the United Nations reported severe flooding in southern Mozambique has affected a quarter of a million people, while heavy rains buffeted the north of the country as Tropical Cyclone Felleng made landfall after passing over Madagascar.

The floods have killed at least 48 people in the south of Mozambique, the UN reported while government officials put the death toll at 80.

Bujumbura ablaze: The Church of England Newspaper, February 10, 2013, p 7. February 11, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Burundi, Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief.
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Fire destroys the Bujumbura central market. Photo: PEAB

The Anglican Church in Burundi reports that a fire has devastated the central marketplace in the capital city of Bujumbura. The 27 January 2013 conflagration destroyed hundreds of businesses and left an unknown number of people dead

“In a country rated as the poorest in the world, where inflation is estimated at 9.7 per cent the fire will inevitably have a significant effect on the country’s already fragile economy. As people are trying to make a living by selling goods and items along the roadsides prices are steadily increasing on basic commodities such as rice and beans, the staple diet of many. The tragedy will also have an impact on other African countries, especially the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda from where fabrics and food items sold in the market originate,” the church wrote on its Facebook page.

Attempts to fight the fire were sporadic. The church reported the government was only able to provide two fire engines to fight the blaze, while a third vehicle was provided by the UN mission in the country. Neighboring Rwanda sent a helicopter to carry water from Lake Tanganyika to the city, but the church reported the fire burnt out of control “resulting in the loss of hundreds of businesses and livelihoods. A number of people lost their lives as they were trying to save or secure their goods and money from the burning market and from looters.”

The Anglican Church reports the Red Cross, churches and local community groups are working with the government in “response to the crisis. The Province is currently assessing the situation as it unfolds and as needs become more apparent.”

Details on how Anglicans can help are available from the provincial office, the church reports, which can be contacted at: peab@cbinf.com

Prince of Wales visits flood ravaged St Asaph’s: The Church of England Newspaper, December 3, 2012 December 12, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church in Wales, Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief.
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The Prince of Wales visited St Asaph Cathedral this week to meet victims of last week’s flooding and in North Wales. More than 400 properties in the city were submerged when the River Elwy burst its banks on 27 Nov 2012.

A statement from Clarence House said the prince was “keen to thank the emergency services and lend his support to some of the residents affected”.  Prayers were also said in the cathedral and at St Asaph’s parish church for the flooding victims, including 91-year-old Margaret Jane Hughes who was found dead in her flooded home on Tuesday.

An inquest was opened last week and John Gittins, the acting coroner for north Wales central, heard that the provisional cause of death was drowning.

During his visit to the cathedral the Prince was introduced to members of the RNLI, the Red Cross and local secondary school children during his time at the Cathedral.  He also met other members of the public who had been personally affected by the floods and visited Roe Parc estate, which had been severely damaged by the flood waters.

After his visit, the Dean of St Asaph Cathedral the Very Reverend Nigel Williams said:

“I’m really pleased that The Prince decided to come because he was with us in our joy when we received City status and now he’s come alongside us in our sorrow – this has made a vast difference to the people of this community.

“He’s got a deep sense of concern for the individuals who have been affected, especially the fact that these floods have gone through people’s homes.  People are glad that he’s been to the affected areas and that has been very well received.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper

Episcopal leaders offer prayers for the victims of Hurricane Sandy: Church of England Newspaper, November 11, 2012 p 1 November 13, 2012

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The Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies – the co-leaders of the Episcopal Church – have urged Americans to respond to the call to aid those in need in the wake of the devastation brought by Hurricane Sandy.

The unseasonal hurricane has “wrought havoc northward hundreds of miles from its first Caribbean landfall, killing and injuring dozens of people in Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, the Bahamas, United States, and Canada,” Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Rev. Gay Jennings wrote on 3 Nov 2012 from ACC-15 in New Zealand.

“The destruction left in its path has deepened the misery of those still recovering from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti as well as hurricanes earlier this season.  It is always the poorest who are most affected, although the news media have shown only a little of that reality.  The impact in a principal metropolitan area of the United States has brought an unimagined level of destruction, and suffering that will long continue in the mid-Atlantic region,” the two said.

The storm came ashore on the coast of New Jersey in the early hours of 30 October causing massive destruction of coastal towns and cities in the Mid-Atlantic.  Seventy-one people were reported dead in the Caribbean, and an equal number are feared dead in the U.S. where disaster relief continues.  A week after the storm power hit New York, the power is out in parts of lower Manhattan and Staten Island and the subways remain flooded.

“This is a time for reaching out to neighbors next door as well as farther abroad with solidarity and offers of basic human hospitality – food, water, electrical connections, showers and shelter – as well as money to assist the lengthy recovery that will be required everywhere this storm has moved.,” the Episcopal leaders said.

“Our Anglican neighbors gathered in New Zealand for the Anglican Consultative Council have been profligate with their prayers and expressions of concern.  We know that God is with us in the midst of this suffering; you can help others to discover that reality through your own response.  May the light of Christ shine through you, and may his light shatter the darkness.

Archbishop’s call to end nuclear power in Japan: The Church of England Newspaper, March 16, 2012 p 6. March 21, 2012

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The Primate of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai has written a pastoral letter to Japanese Anglicans marking the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.  Archbishop Nathaniel Uematsu thanked Anglicans for their outreach to those left homeless by the 11 March 2011 magnitude 9.0 earthquake that devastated Japan’s East Coast province of Tohoku, but noted the experience had shown Japan that it must end its reliance upon nuclear power.

The most powerful quake ever to hit Japan, the Great East Japan Earthquake caused massive destruction and triggered a tsunami whose waves rose to 133 ft when it came ashore in Iwate Prefecture and pushed six miles inland around the city of Sendai.

On 12 March 2012, a Japanese National Police Agency report confirmed 15,854 deaths, 26,992 injuries, and 3,155 people missing across twenty prefectures from the earthquake and tsunami.  The physical destruction caused by the quake left 129,225 buildings destroyed, 254,204 buildings “half collapsed”, and another 691,766 buildings partially damaged the police reported.  The World Bank estimated the economic cost of the earthquake at $235 billion, making it the most expensive natural disaster in world history.

The tsunami waters also led to meltdowns at three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, forcing residents within a 12 mile radius of the plants to leave their homes.

The Japanese government has since shut down most of the country’s 54 reactors, which had provided some 30 per cent of Japan’s electricity, leading to mandatory conservation schemes and rolling blackouts for the whole country as the country switches over to alternate forms of power generation.

In his letter, Archbishop Uematsu described the relief work being undertaken by church agencies for those devastated by the earthquake and tsunami.  He noted that “even today a great number of people remain in evacuation centres and temporary shelters with fears and uncertainties in their minds.”

“One year on, in the devastated towns and villages in the North-east of Japan, life is still far from a strong recovery. Even now, a great number of people are left with nowhere to go back to since their houses were contaminated by radioactive material.”

The archbishop noted the earthquake had led to a rethink of Japan’s energy policies.  Japan, he noted, “is the only country in the world which has experienced an atomic bomb attack in its history, and therefore we have always insisted on the abolition of nuclear weapons.”

“Meanwhile we have enjoyed the comfort and convenience which nuclear power plants have provided for us. The Great East Japan Earthquake revealed completely the fragility of the safety with which we have always trusted these nuclear power plants.”

“Now we must seek to change our lifestyle and find different energy sources,” the archbishop said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Donors ignoring Pakistan flood appeals, aid agencies report: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 30, 2011 p 5. October 5, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Disaster Relief.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Donor fatigue has infected the international aid community, NGOs involved in Pakistani relief efforts report, with only a trickle of aid reaching the flood-ravaged country.

On 26 September, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported the flooding had caused a “major humanitarian emergency, but the situation has not received sufficient international attention. At least 5.4 million people need help, and the number is growing. In some areas of Sindh, humanitarian needs are approaching the levels of 2010. This crisis requires an urgent response.”

In 2010, 18 million people in Pakistan were affected by the “largest floods in living memory, and they have not recovered,” the UN said. “Levels of food insecurity and malnutrition were already at emergency levels before this year’s rains.”

However, the international community has been slow to respond to requests for assistance with only eight per cent of the $357 million requested by the UN received within the first 10 days of the appeal. Five days after the 2010 Pakistan flood appeal was launched, $148 million, or 32 per cent of the total requested, had been raised.

“This is a cruel repeat of last year. Again funding is too little and far too slow. Donors must recognise the gravity of the situation,” said Neva Khan, Country Director of Oxfam in Pakistan.

Over 5.4 million people in Sindh have been affected by this year’s monsoon rains. Approximately 6.8 million acres of land have been damaged by the floods that have destroyed 73 per cent of standing crops, 36 per cent of livestock and 67 per cent of food stocks in the 13 worst affected districts of Sindh. In a province where already 72 per cent of the population is acutely short of food, Oxfam reports “this loss of crops means hundreds of thousands more people don’t have enough to eat.”

“Millions of innocent people, the majority of which are women and children, are in desperate need of the basics: food, water, sanitation, healthcare and shelter. If assistance does not come quickly, then a second emergency of rising malnutrition and rising water-borne diseases risks making a public health disaster a reality. There is no time to waste. We must all act now,” she said.

David Wright, Country Director for Save the Children Pakistan reported that at least four million children were at risk of hunger and disease from the flooding. “These people are now living on the edge and they need help fast. Aid agencies will not be able to meet the needs of millions of families unless countries start to take notice and bridge the funding gap,” he warned.

The Diocese of Hyderabad has also launched an appeal for funds, and hopes to raise $50,000 to support 100 families displaced by the flooding. But time is running out.

“People are living in desperate conditions. Each passing day puts more people at risk of deadly diseases, forces more people into hunger and destroys more futures. We are in a battle against time. Donors, the UN, aid agencies and the government, need to step up their response immediately. People need help now,” said Oxfam’s Neva Khan.

Rebuilding begins in Japan following March tsunami: The Church of England Newspaper, June 24, 2011 p 6. June 27, 2011

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Archbishop Nathaniel Uematsu

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Anglican Church in Japan has launched its “Let’s walk together” programme to support victims of the Eastern Japan earthquake that has left over 30,000 missing or dead.

Led by the Primate of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK), Archbishop Nathaniel Uematsu, and Bishop Jun Nakamura of Tokyo, the aid campaign initially focused on assisting Japanese Anglicans and those in greatest hardship: the “elderly, children, those with disabilities, foreign residents, low-income people, refugees” affected by the 11 March tsunami and earthquake.

Archbishop Uematsu reported the March earthquake was the “strongest earthquake in the country’s history. The resulting enormous tsunami wrought unprecedented death and destruction up and down the coast, particularly in the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, and Ibaraki.”

“Current figures show roughly 30,000 people dead or missing. Many have lost family and friends, homes and savings. Many still have no choice but to stay in emergency shelters. Moreover, this cataclysmic event seriously damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant, resulting in radioactive pollution which has forced not a few people to leave the familiar surroundings of their homes.”

Immediately after the earthquake, the NSKK began its disaster relief efforts, focusing on emergency assistance. The Japanese government, however, was quickly able to restore basic services and “we stopped collecting supplies on 15 April, and sent the final shipments to the Diocese of Tohoku” in Sendai.

The next stage of disaster relief assistance has now begun, the Archbishop said, with its efforts focused on rebuilding churches, institutions and homes destroyed by the earthquake.

Archbishop Uematsu asked the wider Anglican Communion to help in the rebuilding of Eastern Japan, saying “we humbly ask for your understanding and support, and especially your prayers for the success of this undertaking.”

Earthquake damage report from the NSKK: The Church of England Newspaper, April 21, 2011 p 8. April 27, 2011

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The interior of St Stephen's Church in Mito in the Diocese of Kita Kanto, Japan, following the March 11 earthquake. The church has since been declared unsafe and has been demolished

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The churches of the Dioceses of Tohoku and Kita Kanto escaped relatively unscathed from last month’s earthquake and tsunami, reports Shinya Yawata, the NSKK’s international secretary.  However, the human cost of the March 11 earthquake of Japan’s northeast coast has been catastrophic.

There are 13,200 confirmed dead and 14,300 missing, Mr. Yawata said on April 15, while 167,000 people have been forced from their homes.

“Most damage has been caused by the tsunami rather than earthquake itself,” he said, with the government estimating almost 53,000 homes were destroyed.

“In addition we are facing the potential impact of nuclear radiation caused by malfunction of the nuclear power plant” at Fukushima, and “we are experiencing many aftershocks with some of them causing more damage to already weakened structures.”

In Sendai, Christ Church was badly damaged by the earthquake but not touched by the tsunami which leveled many buildings along the coast, Mr. Yawata said, and none of the diocese’s other churches were touched by the waters as they are inland or on high ground.

However, most Tohoku churches have “suffered varying levels of earthquake damage, including cracked or fallen walls and windows, damaged ceilings, broken furniture,” while in the neighboring diocese of Kita Kanto diocese two church buildings were badly damaged, and one had to be torn down.

Support from the other dioceses of the NSKK has begun to pour into the affected areas, Mr. Yawata said, with the “major area of relief work” coming in the provision of “food and necessary goods for daily life, such as cooking fuel, clean towels, clothing.”

The NSKK is continuing to assess the needs of its congregations and the wider community, Mr. Yawata said, with the Provincial Office “providing care where and when it is required.”

“Please continue to keeps us in your prayers,” the church’s international secretary said, as the work of reconstruction will be long and arduous.

Solomon Islands flooded by Japan tsunami: The Church of England Newspaper, April 21, 2011 p 7. April 26, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Melanesia, Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief.
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Bishop Naramana addressing his 2009 dicoesan synod

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Ripples from the powerful March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated North East Japan were felt over 3700 miles south in the Solomon Islands, the  Church of the Province of  Melanesia reports.

Bishop Richard Naramana of the Diocese of Ysabel reports that at approximately 2:00 am local time on March 12, tsunami waves generated by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit the Isabel, Malaita, Choiseul and Central Island provinces of the Solomon Islands, seven hours after the quake rocked Japan.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation reported that a tribal elder Chief Johnson Leamana said the sea level rose three metres on Isabel and swept inland.  In a letter to his companion Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn, Bishop Naramana said “it was a fearful experience having to be awaken at night in panic, carrying children, shouting to each other ‘ are you alright?’ to each other in the dark; being swept away by the high wave.”

The bishop reported that the cost of the damages to the diocesan offices was approximately £23,000.  “I am praying as to how we will recover the damages done to the Diocese by the recent Tsunami. On the next day as I walked around the diocesan area, I shed tears as how I will rebuild the Diocese from the damages.”

“Here is but just a brief story of the tsunami that has affected the diocesan area,” the bishop wrote.

“There are homes which were completely destroyed and there are families in Buala, Maglau, Nareabu and around the diocese where they have lost everything. Their houses were completely destroyed by the waves.”

“The effect of the recent Tsunami was great,” he said, but thanked God that “nobody lost their lives” in the Solomon Islands from the tragedy.

Tohoku ‘annihilated’ archbishop reports: The Church of England Newspaper, April 8, 2011 p 7. April 13, 2011

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Bishop John Kato of Tohoku at the 2008 Lambeth Conference

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Primate of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK), the Anglican Church in Japan, writes that two weeks after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami struck northeast Japan, the number of dead and missing has risen to over 30,000.

“Villages and towns along the coastline of Tohoku region were almost all annihilated,” Archbishop Nathaniel Uematsu said in a March 30 report to the Anglican Communion.

“In addition, because of the fear of the radiation leak as a result of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor, people who live in the 30km radius of the reactor were told to evacuate. They are having a difficult life in evacuation centres in places far away from their homes. In fact, the fear of nuclear contamination is felt not only by those people who live within the 30km radius, but also by people in Tokyo, which is more than 100km away. Many people are living with uncertainty,” the Archbishop said.

On March 26 the Archbishop travelled to Sendai City, the largest city in the Tohoku region and site of the Cathedral of the Diocese of Tohoku. “Parts of the walls had fallen down, the walls were cracked. It looked to me as the whole building was lopsided,” Archbishop Uematsu said, adding that because of the risk of aftershocks, the congregation was worshipping in the neighbouring church hall.

Accompanied by the Bishop of Tohoku, the Rt Rev John Hiromichi Kato, the Archbishop visited the “devastated area along the coastline of Sendai City. The devastation caused by the tsunami was simply beyond our imagination. The tsunami reached the fourth floor of buildings destroying everything. The wreckage of houses and the huge number of cars are simply still lying there. Police and members of the Japan Defence Regiment were still looking for corpses. There was no sign of life there. Standing in that area surrounded by nothing but wreckage, all we could do was silently look at the scene in front of us and pray.”

The troubles at the Fukushima nuclear reactor have compounded the misery of Tohoku, the Archbishop reported as fears of “radiation contamination” have left people “wary” of delivering relief supplies. “As a result, the evacuees are in real dire straits because they are not receiving enough food,” the Archbishop said.

However, “Japan is a wealthy country and I imagine that once the transport infrastructure is restored and fuel is once again available that local supplies will reach the affected areas,” he said.

What the church in Japan “really would like” is for Christians “across the world to do is support us by praying. The Japanese Church is a small church, but knowing that brothers and sisters in the worldwide Communion are praying for victims and the Church’s relief activities, that gives them strength. I would also be very grateful if they would support us financially now and in the future so that we can help restore people’s lives and our church communities,” the Archbishop said.

Archbishop’s letter from Japan: The Church of England Newspaper, March 25, 2011 p 8. March 30, 2011

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The Most Rev. Nathaniel Uematsu, Primate of Japan and Bishop of Hokkaido

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Primate of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK)—the Anglican Church in Japan—has released an update on the situation in Northeastern Japan, ten days after an earthquake and tsunami devastated the region.

“We Japanese are accustomed to earthquakes and tsunamis,” Archbishop Nathaniel Uematsu wrote, “however no one could have imagined that such a major earthquake or tsunami could have happened. As of [March 22], more than 8,400 people are confirmed dead and still 12,000 people are missing. There are more than 300,000 people who are enduring hardship at various evacuation centres.”

The safety of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex reactor remains in doubt, and has led the government to evacuate all those living within 30 kilometres of the reactor site, he said.  While Tokyo Electric has been “working tirelessly” to prevent a nuclear accident, “people are already discovering levels of radiation in the milk and vegetables” from local farms, the archbishop reported.

The archbishop thanked Anglicans around the world for their encouragement and support since the earthquake, and welcomed the offers of assistance the church had received, but asked for patience from those who wished to volunteer their services.

“Because there is no structure or system to receive these people in the devastated areas at the moment, only the official public servants such as doctors, nurses, Japan’s Defence Regiment personel and fire fighters, police, medical centre staff and local council staff members are allowed to provide care to those affected,” by the disaster.

However, once the extent of the damage is known to the churches and homes of the people of the Tohoku and Kita Kanto dioceses, there will be a need for volunteers to help rebuild.

However, the NSKK “consider the people affected by the disaster to be the church’s priority. In most of the areas affected by the disaster there are no Anglican churches, however it is the NSKK’s desire to stand with all people there and to do whatever we can to support them.”

The first rescue and relief phase will soon come to an end, the archbishop said, but the “restoration phase will go on for a long time. As the NSKK, particularly as Tohoku Diocese, we believe that it is during this second phase when God will most use us to do his work.”

“I would like to express my utmost gratitude for the prayers and warm words which were sent to me from everybody. I would like you to continue to pray for the ongoing relief and restoration work,” Archbishop Uematsu said.

22 feared dead in earthquake cathedral collapse: The Church of England Newspaper, March 4, 2011 p 9. March 8, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Over 240 people are feared dead, and over 100 people are missing in the aftermath of the Feb 21 earthquake that struck Christchurch, New Zealand.

Twenty two people are believed to have died in the city’s Anglican cathedral when its spire collapsed, and over 50 bodies have been recovered from the ruins of the six-story Canterbury Television building, which housed an English language school for foreign students.

A majority of the buildings in the city’s central commercial district have been damaged and over 2,500 people have been reported injured in the quake, and more than 160 of them in serious condition.

Damage to the churches of the Diocese of Christchurch has been severe, with 26 parishes reported as being in “a bad way.”  The rubble at the base of the cathedral’s spire was over 30 meters deep, rescue workers report, and progress in removing bodies from the “broken heart” of Christchurch has been slowed by aftershocks.

Dean Peter Beck told Radio New Zealand the rescue teams were working to ensure the “graceful removal” of the dead.

“They are working in the broken heart of Christchurch. That’s why we are concerned that such great care is taken with this bodies being recovered.”

Most of the dead in the cathedral were tourists, the dean said.  “The whole enormity of it all still hasn’t hit me but I think I am due for a bloody good cry.”

On Feb 27 Bishop Victoria Matthews of Christchurch and New Zealand Archbishop David Moxon released a statement noting that while the damage was severe, “the Church of God is strong in faith and service in the Diocese of Christchurch.”

“The people of God are responding with courage and resolve to the present state of emergency caused by the recent earthquake and aftershocks. Although debris and wreckage are in evidence on every street and both the army and emergency services are a constant presence, courtesy and consideration prevail,” the bishops said.

They offered their condolences to those affected by the quake, offering “prayer in the power of the Holy Spirit, knowing that suffering has always been part of Christian experience. We also ask prayer for all those involved in the cleanup, the search and rescue operations and pastoral care at this difficult time. While we have been reminded in no uncertain terms that we are not in control, we hold fast to our faith in the Sovereign God and pray for the strength and grace to minister Christ’s presence,” the bishops said.

Christchurch devastated by earthquake: The Church of England Newspaper, Feb 22, 2011 February 23, 2011

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Christchurch Cathedral after this week's earthquake

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

A 6.3-magnitude earthquake has rocked the city of Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island, causing extensive damage, toppling the spire of the city’s Anglican cathedral.

The extent of the injuries and possible death toll remains unknown, but video reports show extensive damage to the city and injured residents outside their homes and businesses.  The quake hit at 12:51 pm NZDT on Feb 22: 11:51 pm GMT on Feb 21 according to a report from the Research Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science of New Zealand.

The city has since been rocked by two major aftershocks, Radio New Zealand reports.  On Sept 3, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch, causing £900 million in damage.  Over 100,000 homes were damaged in the earthquake, but there were no fatalities in the September earthquake.

The Archbishops and Standing Committee of the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia have issued a statement from their meeting in Rotorua after news of the earthquake was broadcast.

They confirmed that the spire and portions of Christchurch Cathedral had collapsed and that there have been “multiple fatalities, many casualties, extensive damage, evacuation and major trauma to thousands of people.”

“We reach out in this prayer to the people of the city of Christchurch and the wider Canterbury region, asking the God of all the earth to give everyone the strength and endurance that they need to survive and to recover,” the church leaders said.

“We pray also for all those who are involved now so dramatically in civil defence activities, hospital services and community organization as people begin to try and process what has happened and to work out the way ahead,” said the statement signed by Archbishops David Moxon, Brown Turei and Winston Halapua, and the Standing Committee of General Synod.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has written to the Bishop of Christchurch, the Rt Rev Victoria Matthews, offering his prayers in the aftermath of the earthquake in New Zealand.

In his letter, Dr Williams said: “We are all thinking of you constantly in the wake of yesterday’s terrible news, and our prayers are with you.  The devastation of the Cathedral is dreadful, but, as you have said yourself, it is only a sign of the real human tragedy, whose scale is so serious.  We thank God that you and your people are there to offer strength and comfort to all those caught up in the personal suffering this has brought.

We hope that the rescue operations are going forward without obstacles and that the toll of casualties will not grow higher.  I know that the people of Canterbury in particular, with their historic associations with Christ Church, will be sharing very specially in prayer for you all.”

New Zealand’s South Island rocked by earthquake: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 17, 2010 p 6. September 21, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief.
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St John's, Hororata

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Diocese of Christchurch has begun to clean up in the wake of the earthquake that hit New Zealand’s South Island on Sept 4.

The 7.1-magnitude earthquake caused £900 million in damage, Prime Minister John Key said last week after inspecting the damage in Christchurch and the surrounding countryside.  Over 100,000 homes were damaged in the earthquake, which also damaged water, sewer and power lines.  No one was killed, however, by the quake.

Writing to her diocese on Sept 5, Bishop Victoria Matthews gave “thanks for the gift of life and friends at this time.”

She urged everyone to “check on your neighbours” and to look out for one another.  “At these times there is a huge need for community. People need to talk about what they have experienced and how they are feeling about the disaster,” she said.

Twenty Anglican and Catholic churches were damaged in the earthquake.  Christchurch Cathedral suffered no significant structural damage, Dean Peter Beck reported, however, other churches suffered significant damage and will be closed for months.

The Archbishops of New Zealand, Aotearoa and Polynesia released a statement thanking “God that no-one has died, although there has been a range of injuries. Many buildings, including a significant number of churches, will need major repairs. We know that many are praying for the Diocese of Christchurch, the Hui Amorangi O Te Wai Pounamu and the city as a whole as they recover from the shock,” they said.

New floods threaten Pakistan: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 20, 2010 p 1. August 26, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Disaster Relief.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Another wave of flood waters is moving south along the Indus River, Pakistani officials warned on Aug 16, threatening to swell the ranks of the millions driven from their homes.  Around one-fifth of Pakistan was underwater over the weekend, and the official death toll has risen to 1463.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “In the past, I have witnessed many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this,” after visiting the Sindh.

Mr. Ban said he is allocating an additional $10 million from the U.N.’s emergency response fund for the disaster. Almost $305 million has been pledged for the relief effort, but Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said more aid is needed to address the country’s ruined infrastructure and agriculture.

Overseas aid has been slow in reaching Pakistan, however, and the UN said on Aug 13 said it had received only 20 per cent of the funds it needs to aid the victims.  Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called the global response so far, “lamentable, absolutely pitiful.”

In an email to the Church of England Newspaper, the Bishop of Peshawar, the Rt. Rev. Humphrey Peters stated, the “floods have devastated everything in Pakistan and especially in our part of the world.”

The diocese reports that Khyber Pakhtunkwa province, formerly known as the North West Frontier, has been especially hard hit.  “Thousands of villages are under water and hundreds of people are either dead or missing. All road links within the Province have been cut down; relief workers are trying to reach the affected people.”

“In Khyber Pakhtunkwa the worst hit area is Swat. The people of Swat were first hit by militancy and now they are terrorized by the natural disaster, worst of its kind in the living memory. Thousands are still trapped in floods, as roads and bridges have been washed away.”

“Similarly, people in Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan, Pabbi, Tarnab Farm, Tarbella, Swabi and Nowshera have also lost literally everything and are residing in open spaces, apart from floods and no-aid.”

“There are reports that people are also suffering from trauma, gastroenteritis, are also facing the deadly snakes, scorpions and mosquitoes and have no protection and/or medicines and flood. There are reports that people are also suffering from trauma, gastroenteritis, skin diseases and cholera,” the diocese reports.

Archbishop offers prayers following Tripoli plane crash: The Church of England Newspaper, May 21, 2010 p 7. May 28, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief.
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Archbishop Makgoba

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Archbishop of Cape Town has offered his condolences and has opened its churches to the families of those killed in last week’s crash of a Libyan Afriqiyah Airways plane in Tripoli.

The Airbus A330-200 carrying 93 passengers and 11 crew in transit from Johannesburg to Europe crashed on its approach to Tripoli.  An 8-year-old Dutch boy, Ruben van Assouw, was the only survivor.

The dead included 58 Dutch, thirteen South African, two Libyan, two Austrian, one German, one French, one Zimbabwean and two British passengers; the nationalities of the other passengers have not yet been identified.  All eleven crew members were Libyan.

The plane was approaching Tripoli after a nine hour flight from Johannesburg, when it crashed at 6:00 a.m. local time.  The flight data recorder has been recovered and is being reviewed to determine the cause of the accident.

On May 12, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town stated the church offered its prayers for those “who lost their lives” especially as we “consider the shocking and brutal way in which they died.”

“We do not know the cause of the crash – and even if we did, it would not alter the way that our hearts weep within us. We call for the relevant aviation authorities to determine and declare the cause soon, so that others can learn from this tragedy,” he said.

Yet, “we thank God for the sole survivor.  In his survival, we see that even in this dark cloud of death, there is this ray of hope. I pray that God, as we know him in Jesus Christ, will be for all those affected a source of hope, strength, and comfort,” Archbishop Makgoba said.

Chile quake hits Church: CEN 3.05.10 p 1. March 16, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief, La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America.
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Over 700 have died and more than two million people have been displaced from their homes following a magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile on Feb 28.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has instituted martial law over the south western coastal region of Maule and the city of Concepción and ordered troops to help deliver food and relief supplies. With Concepción’s 500,000 residents cut off from food and water, looting has broken out and soldiers have fired tear gas to control the crowds.

Bishop Henry Scriven, director of mission for Latin America for CMS-SAMS reports that its has no word of any injuries of its staff in country. The former Bishop of Chile, the Rt. Rev Colin Bazley was visiting family in Santiago and was in their 24th floor apartment when the earthquake struck. “They were shaken, but not stirred!” Bishop Scriven reported.

Communications with the Concepción are difficult, however. Sammy Lugo told SAMS-Ireland the “phone lines have been down and mobile phone signals are weak and unreliable. Even the government hasn’t really known what’s been happening till about 12 hours ago. “

“The news we’re now getting is quite disturbing: riots, looting, people trapped under buildings and even hundreds of people having escaped a few of the local prisons. On the coast some towns have been hit by tsunamis, though things are calmer now on that front,” said Lugo, a lay member of the Diocese of Chile, who recently completed a one-year parish placement in Belfast.

“Thankfully, the news from the Concepción church seems to be ok. We’ve heard news of many of the church families staying together and sharing food and lodgings, as things are much more difficult there.”

On March 2, SAMS Ireland General Secretary Denis Johnston spoke with Bishop Tito Zavala of Chile, who reported that he was taking a team from Santiago to Concepción to survey the damage and to assist church families displaced by the earthquake.

In an email to Anglican Mainstream, Bishop Gregory Venables of Argentina, the Primate of the Church of the Southern Cone stated the earthquake “represents both a setback and a great opportunity to demonstrate the reality of the transformation Christ brings through his Spirit working through his people. I hope we can support our brethren in Christ in Chile strongly at this time. “

Church leaders urge prayer for Haiti survivors: CEN 1.22.10 p 7. February 8, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief, Haiti.
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Church leaders across the Anglican Communion have joined the Archbishop of Canterbury in calling for prayer and support for the people of Haiti in the wake of the Jan 12 earthquake that devastated the Caribbean republic.

“I am profoundly shocked and concerned to hear about the devastating earthquake in Haiti,” Dr. Rowan Williams said on Jan 14.

“As the news comes through, we are learning more about the tragic loss of life, injury suffered and terrible damage to the country. We stand alongside all the people in Haiti affected by this terrible disaster in prayer, thought and action as the situation unfolds. We pray for the rescue of those still trapped and look towards the rebuilding of lives and communities.”

On Jan 12 at 4:53 pm, a magnitude 7 earthquake rocked the capital of Port-au-Prince. It was quickly followed by two aftershocks registering 5.9 and 5.5 on the Richter magnitude scale.

The Red Cross reports that as many as 3 million people may have been affected by the quake, while initial estimates of the dead from 30,000 to 300,000. The quake’s epicenter was 10 miles outside the capital and is reported to have leveled much of the city. Aftershocks continue to rock the Caribbean, with a 6.2 magnitude earthquake recorded on Jan 19 with its epicenter 32 miles south of Grand Cayman Island.

Power and telephone service has been disrupted across most of the country making it difficult to assess the full extent of the damage. Haiti’s endemic political turmoil, poverty, and the four hurricanes that decimated the country in 2008, have also left it ill-equipped to respond to the disaster.

The Archbishop of Cape Town was the first to respond to the disaster, writing to Bishop Jean-Zaché Duracin of Haiti on Jan 13 assuring him of his church’s “urgent and heartfelt prayers at this traumatic time.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said he hoped aid would quickly come to the island. “We particularly look to countries such as the United States of America to show the love of a neighbour in helping you not only materially, but in restoring dignity to those who are suffering devastation, and in supporting the long-term rebuilding of both infrastructure and human society.”

In a statement distributed for distribution on Jan 31 to the congregations of the Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote “the world has been turned upside down, as the bones of the earth have shifted underneath Haiti. We are reminded of life’s fragility and unpredictability as we watch the news reports and see the devastation of human lives.”

The Episcopal Diocese of Haiti is “among the largest in our church. Before this disaster, the diocese counted between 100,000 and 120,000 members in 169 congregations served by just 37 clergy,” she said The diocese served more than 80,000 children in 254 diocesan educational institutions, from preschool to college and sponsored Haiti’s only philharmonic orchestra and its only schools for disabled children and nursing, the presiding bishop said.

Much of this work had been destroyed, she noted, as the “earthquake flattened the cathedral and its surrounding buildings, including schools and a convent; it destroyed the bishop’s home and the diocesan offices. One of the diocese’s institutions of higher education is gone. As I write this in mid-January, we don’t know the condition of other institutions.”

Reconstruction will take years, she said, but the Episcopal Church, “all of it– will be vital in that effort.”

Canadian Archbishop Fred Hiltz asked for prayers for the people of Haiti, “as they struggle with such devastation and grief.”

Writing on Jan 13, he also asked Canadians to support the charitable relief efforts underway, appealing “in the name of Christ in his compassion for all who suffer” to “generously to increase our support for relief efforts.”

The Church of Ireland’s Archbishop of Armagh, Dr. Alan Harper stated his “heart goes out to the survivors, both those suffering injuries and the bereaved. I pray for the success of the international response to the disaster and I encourage all those who feel able to do so to contribute financially to assist the people of Haiti at this terrible time.”

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane said his church held “hold in prayer all the victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti – the families of those who have been killed in this tragedy, the thousands of people whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed, and all the rescue and aid workers, medical staff and volunteers.”

He backed the Christian Aid Haiti appeal, urging support for the victims of the earthquake.

The Archbishop of the West Indies on Jan 17 called on the Caribbean to support Haiti. Dr John Holder urged West Indians to be faithful to “strong Caribbean spirit and let us respond to Haiti,” urging Barbadians to donate cash to support a field hospital being established by CARICOM.

In his Jan 14 statement, Dr. Williams stated “in this time of catastrophic loss and destruction, I urge the public to hold the people of Haiti in their prayers, and to give generously and urgently to funding appeals set up for relief work.”

Faith leaders offer prayers for Haiti: CEN 1.14.10 January 14, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief, Haiti.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has joined other world leaders in offering his prayers and support for the people of Haiti in the wake of the earthquake that devastated the Caribbean island on Jan 12.

Faith leaders offer prayers for Haiti

“I am profoundly shocked and concerned to hear about the devastating earthquake in Haiti,” Dr. Rowan Williams said on Jan 14.

“As the news comes through, we are learning more about the tragic loss of life, injury suffered and terrible damage to the country. We stand alongside all the people in Haiti affected by this terrible disaster in prayer, thought and action as the situation unfolds. We pray for the rescue of those still trapped and look towards the rebuilding of lives and communities.”

On Jan 12 at 4:53 pm, a magnitude 7 earthquake rocked the capital of Port-au-Prince, and was quickly followed by two aftershocks registering 5.9 and 5.5 on the Richter magnitude scale.

The Red Cross reports that as many as 3 million people may have been affected by the quake, according to the Red Cross, while initial estimates of the death toll range from 10,000 to 100,000. The quake’s epicenter was 10 miles outside the capital and is reported to have leveled much of the city. The Presidential Palace and most government buildings were leveled, while the United Nations headquarters was also decimated and the head of the U.N.’s peacekeeping mission in country is presumed dead.

Power and telephone service has been disrupted across most of the country making it difficult to assess the full extent of the damage. Haiti’s endemic political turmoil, poverty, and the four hurricanes that decimated the country in 2008, have also left it ill-equipped to respond to the disaster.

Reports from the Diocese of Haiti, the Episcopal Church’s largest diocese, report wide scale destruction. An American religious order, the Sisters of Saint Margaret, report that their convent, Holy Trinity Cathedral and its church school, the Bishop’s residence, St. Vincent’s School for Handicapped Children and the diocesan seminary have been destroyed.

Bishop Zache Duracin is reported to have survived the earthquake, though his wife was injured. New York’s Trinity Wall Street parish reports that the Dean of the Seminary, the Rev. Oge Beauvoir and his wife, Serette, are alive and have gathered with other survivors at a university football field as those structures still standing are unsafe to enter.

In his Jan 14 statement, Dr. Williams stated “in this time of catastrophic loss and destruction, I urge the public to hold the people of Haiti in their prayers, and to give generously and urgently to funding appeals set up for relief work.”

Samoa devastated by earthquate, tsunami: CEN 10.09.09 p 5. October 23, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief.
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An earthquake and tsunami in the Central Pacific has devastated the southern coast of Samoa. On Sept 30 at 1748 GMT the 8.3-magnitude earthquake located 120 miles south of the Samoan capital of Apia spawned a 15 feet high tidal wave that inundated the coast. The earthquake and resulting tsunami left 135 dead and eight missing in Samoa, 32 dead in American Samoa and nine dead in Tonga.

About 20 villages on Samoa’s southern coast of the main island of Upolu are thought to have been leveled, while popular beachside resorts have been wiped out. Roads, power lines and telecommunications have been badly damaged.

Archdeacon Taimalelagi Fagamalama Tuatagaloa-Leota, a Samoan national living in New Zealand reported that one of her sons was in a van that was swept out to sea by the tsunami and was critically injured and is in an Apia hospital, while one of the archdeacon’s daughters-in-law lost at least 10 members of her family.

Her home village, Poutasi, on the southern coast of Upolu, “looks like it’s been bombed,” she told Anglican Taonga.

Monsoon devastates South India: CEN 10.09.09 p 7. October 13, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of South India, Disaster Relief.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Monsoon rains have led to widespread flooding in southern India, with at least 125 people reported drowned following four days of torrential rain.

The Church of South India’s Bishop in Nandyal reports the Thungabadra and Krishna rivers have breached their banks in the south central city of Kurnool with floodwaters 10 feet high.

“Our clergy and the congregation members living in the surrounding area of the [central] church are taking shelter in the balcony of the church. And the news is that the situation may worsen further,” the bishop in a letter released on Oct 2 by Anglican Mainstream.

Monsoon devastates south india

“People are running to higher grounds and are crying for help,” the bishop said, noting “there is a sense of helplessness and uncertainty.” Wire service reports state 25,000 people have been trapped by the rising floodwaters in Kurnool alone.

Much of Southern India’s road and rail network has been shut down and in Maharashtra, the national highway between Bombay and Goa was closed by the flooding.

Bishop Lawrence stated “we have just concluded the meeting of all the leaders of the diocese to prepare for relief work with supply of food, water and shelter in our schools hostels and church buildings.

“We also are conducting prayers of intercession and help for the greatest disaster. The situation is grave with raising level of water of rivers canals and tanks. This is the first of its kind we are appealing for your prayers,” he stated.

Further rains are expected in the coming days, hampering rescue efforts mounted by the Indian military.

Cyclone claims 275 lives: CEN 6.12.09 p 6. June 12, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of Bangladesh, Church of England Newspaper, Church of North India, Disaster Relief.
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Tropical Cyclone Aila, the first major storm of the 2009 monsoon season in South Asia, has come ashore in the Bay of Bengal, drowning at least 275 people and leaving millions homeless.

The Church of North India’s Bishop of Durgapur, Bishop Probal Kanto Dutta reports the situation in the aftermath of the storm is “grave and countless people have lost their lives.”

The cyclone came struck West Bengal and Bangladesh on May 25, triggering tidal surges and widespread flooding. In West Bengal at least 5.1 million people were displaced, with more than one million people stranded in the Sundarban islands alone, most of them without any food or water, government press handouts report. Approximately 100 confirmed deaths have been reported in India and 175 in Bangladesh.

“The tidal surges and floods triggered by Aila have washed away roads, damaged bridges and submerged fields,” said John Gomes, communications officer for World Vision in Bangladesh. “Some areas are just totally inaccessible as they are underwater and there are simply not enough boats to get relief out to these people who are sleeping out in the open with no shelter.”

Writing to supporters in the UK, the Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh, Bishop Paul Sarker reported that “I am sorry to inform you that the storm was not at all a light one [as] I thought yesterday. From yesterday evening it has become very strong cyclone and gone through from the South-West coastal area to the north. The sea water came up to 7-8 feet high and washed away many houses and crops in the coastal area.”

Bishop Dutta wrote that his diocese “has two districts which have been hit by this cyclone. We are yet to take stock of the losses. No vehicles or transports are moving now.”

We request all friends and well wishers of the Diocese of Durgapur to prayer for us,” he said.

Archbishop launches appeal after bush fires: CEN 2.13.09 p 8. February 13, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief.
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The Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr. Philip Freier has launched an appeal to aid in the wake of brush fires that have left almost 200 dead and destroyed over 750 houses.

On Feb 9 Victoria Premier John Brumby reported during a tour of the hard hit Mudgegonga region in Eastern Victoria that 173 people were confirmed dead following the weekend brush fires, with an additional 50 people missing and presumed dead. The fires have left hundreds of people homeless and burned over 3000 square kilometers, destroying whole towns.

The Diocese of Melbourne reported that the church in Kinglake was destroyed on Feb 7, while other local parishes were offering shelter and support to those displaced by the fires.

Bishop Stephen Hale of the Eastern Region has reported what information is available on how the weekend’s bush fires have impacted upon the Anglican parishes in the affected communities.

Following a tour of the Kinglake area, Archbishop Freier told Anglican Media Melbourne he was profoundly saddened by the scale of the devastation and loss of life, and also greatly moved by the love and care people on display.

Those outside the devastated areas could help by contributing to the appeal, he said. It would enable the church to “these devastated and grieving communities to rebuild and start again,” he said.

A quick and coordinated response to the tragedy was essential, he noted. “We learned important lessons after the 1983 bush fires about working with the community to rebuild a sense of hope and purpose,” Dr. Freier said. “Our recovery co-ordinating committee is ready to respond now and in the months ahead.”

“These fires have been a cruel blow to the communities already affected by drought,” Dr. Freier said on Feb 8, “and it will call upon all of our faith and resilience to see each other through these times.”

Governor General Quentin Bryce said the Victorian fires were a grave national emergency, and she has urged all Australians to do what they can to help the victims.

In a televised address she asked all Australians to come to the aid of their countrymen. “I know our capacity for giving and doing, for I see it wherever I travel throughout our nation and beyond, I urge all Australians to find the best and bravest of it, and put it to work,” she said.

Cyclone destruction will “continue for another year” says Archbishop: CEN 11.21.08 p 6. November 23, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Myanmar, Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief.
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The people of the Irrawaddy Delta of southern Burma will need at least one more year to recover from the devastation of Cyclone Nargis, the Archbishop of Myanmar has written in a letter to the Anglican Communion from Rangoon.

On Sept 25, Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo reported that life remained difficult five months after the cyclone struck southern Burma. The summer monsoon rains have “worsened conditions of overcrowding, lack of hygiene and potential spread of diseases. Most of the existing water sources are either damaged or spoiled,” the archbishop wrote.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Cyclone devastation 'to last another year'

USPG links with Army to help Belize: CEN 6.13.08 p 7. June 17, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies, Disaster Relief, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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THE USPG has joined the British Army and relief agencies in rushing support to Belize in the wake of wide-spread flooding caused by Tropical Storm Arthur.

Arthur, the first storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, made landfall on May 31 and dropped 15 inches of rain on Belize for four days, with flooding affecting over 80 per cent of the nation’s residents. Rivers along the coast of the former British Honduras crested their banks, creating flash floods in low-lying and coastal areas.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Mission agencies link with Army to combat flooding

Diocese aids victims of Mozambique flood: CEN 3.07.08 p 6. March 9, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief.
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cow-crossing-the-limpopo.jpgThe Diocese of Niassa is providing emergency assistance to villagers in the Zambezi River valley after spring floods in Northern Mozambique forced 170,000 people from their homes and left 20 dead.

The USPG reports that its mission companion, the Rt. Rev. Mark van Koevering, Bishop of Niassa and the diocese have been distributing mosquito netting, plastic tarpaulins to provide shelter, water purification tablets, and clothing to those displaced by the floods.

“We wanted to show that our church cared,” the Bishop said. “We had planned to help just 200 families, but with hard work and careful budgeting, many more than this have been assisted.”

Bishop van Koevering stated that one priest, Padre Albano—who has founded 16 churches in the past two years—lost his home to the flood, despite being 200 metres from the river. The village well was also destroyed as the polluted flood waters collapsed its walls

“Padre Albano’s request is for prayer, for his congregations and the communities of the Shire area of Zambezia, as well as for himself and his family. Please do pray,” the bishop wrote.

The 2,574 km-long Zambezi, Africa’s fourth largest river, flows through Zambia, Angola, along the borders of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, to Mozambique, where it enters the sea. The river has flooded its banks four of the last seven years, prompting the Mozambican government to urge villagers to move to higher ground.

However, the Zambezi flood plain provides the livelihood for the peasant farmers of the region. New planned government villages above the flood plain are on land less fertile, and require greater labor and more land to support the villagers.

“We can’t encourage people to move to higher ground if you don’t offer an economic alternative,” said Chris McIvor, country director for Save the Children UK told the UN’s IRIN news service.

In November Save the Children UK organised agricultural giving farmers vouchers to purchase £8 of seeds and tools from local merchants. However, the new floods have destroyed the newly planted crops. The NGO said it would be encouraging displaced farmers to take up new trades—fishing, carpentry, craft making—so that the local economy would not be held at the mercy of the river.

The Church of England Newspaper.

13 dead after Rwanda church hit by quake: CEN 2.15.08 p 8. February 15, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Rwanda, Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief.
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The Diocese of Cyangugu in Southern Rwanda was rocked by an earthquake last week that has left at least 40 dead, including 13 killed when a church collapsed.

Some 300 people were also reported injured after the series of quakes hit the Great Lakes districts of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at dawn on Sunday, Feb 3.

The epicenter of a quake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale was about 20 km north of Bukavu on the southern tip of Lake Kivu in the DRC. A second tremor measuring 5.0 was recorded in Cyangugu in Southern Rwanda near the DRC border.

The administrator of the Diocese of Cyangugu writes the region was “badly hit” just as “people were preparing to go to church, and then by subsequent tremors during the day. Many people are sleeping outside at night. There are still a few tremors over the place.”

The Rev. Emmanuel Mukeshimana reports considerable damage has been done to a number of diocesan buildings and to the homes of many clergy and parishioners. The diocesan guest house in Kamembe was badly damaged, as were a number of churches and schools, he said.

“What happened in Cyangugu on Sunday will soon be forgotten by the rest of the world. Even today it is not mentioned in the headlines,” Fr. Mukeshimana said.

“The situation is not life threatening and NGO’s will not come running. But this isolated, remote area of Rwanda has been badly affected.” However, “we need your help,” he wrote to mission partners in the West.

The long term impact of the quake will be severe as “those just managing to keep their heads above water and looking for every franc of income they can get are now faced with the financial burden of needing to repair their homes,” he said.

Christians flock to clean up spill: CEN 1.22.08 January 23, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Korea, Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief.
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CHRISTIAN leaders in Korea have stepped in to assist in the clean up after the country’s largest oil spill.

The National Council of Churches in Korea, led by the Anglican Archbishop of Seoul, the Most Rev Francis Park, has joined forces with other Christian groups and NGOs and mobilised volunteers to help clean up the spill along the Taean Peninsula, 50 miles southwest of Seoul.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Christians flock to clean up spill

Former Primate wanted by police: CEN 12.17.07 December 17, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea, Church of England Newspaper, Crime, Disaster Relief, Freemasonry/Secret Societies.
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The former Primate of the Church of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Archbishop George Ambo has been identified as a leader of a ‘cargo cult’ in that country’s Oro Province and is being sought by police for questioning in connection with the theft of relief supplies.

Inspector Samuel Jumangu of the PNG police told The Nation newspaper that a retired bishop and former mother superior were being sought by police to assist them with their inquires into the “forceful” removal of relief supplies in the wake of Cyclone Guba by members of the Puwo Gawe cult. 

In a Dec 12 interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Pacific Service, the Rt. Rev. Joseph Kopapa, Bishop of Popondetta stated the Most Rev. George Ambo, KBE and a Sister Cora were the leaders of Puwo Gawe. 

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Water threat looms in Zimbabwe: CEN 11.16.07 p 7. November 18, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief, NGOs, Politics, Zimbabwe.
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robert_mugabe.jpgZimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo, is set to run out of water, the British relief agency Tearfund reports.

Four of the five reservoirs that supply the city of 1.5 million have run dry, and the government has refused to come to the people’s aid unless the opposition led Bulawayo city council turns over the city’s water department to the control of the Zimbabwe National Water Authority.

“Churches in Bulawayo”, an interfaith alliance, has stepped in with the support of the city by setting up water tanks at churches to supply potable water for the city’s residents: a solution that observers see as too little too late.

“The crisis in Bulawayo has seen people scavenging for filthy water from hand-dug pits and broken pipes,” Tearfund’s international director Peter Grant said. “People are living on nothing more than cups of tea with the last of their maize meal now gone,” he said.

Water and sewer revenues generated almost 80 percent of the city’s income last year. Turning over the water department the national government would cripple one of the last opposition strongholds to the Mugabe regime, and would do little to resolve the crisis as the regime has no foreign currency reserves to fund construction projects to alleviate the shortage.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York estimates that Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate exceeds 10,000 percent, four of every five adults are jobless, and that gross domestic product (GDP) per capita has shrunk by over 46 percent since 1998.

The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that more than one-third of all Zimbabweans will need food assistance by early 2008. Approximately three million Zimbabweans have fled their country, accounting for roughly one-quarter of the total population. Remittances from expatriates, international food aid, and support from churches and NGOs keep the country alive, the CFR said.

“Zimbabwe doesn’t have to be like this.” Mr. Grant said. “Churches are working tirelessly to bridge the gap, meeting the acute need. Despite the spiralling economic crisis they are bringing relief and hope. But they urgently need our help for this work to continue.”

Indian Flooding Causing Concern: CEN 9.07.07 p 8. September 7, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of North India, Disaster Relief.
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The Church of North India’s Social Service Institute reports that unseasonably early monsoon rains have lead to severe flooding in the Northern Indian state of Bihar, along the border of Nepal.

“Bihar’s worst ever floods have not only rendered hundreds of thousands homeless, it has also damaged lakhs [hundreds of thousands] of hectares in standing crops, thousands of houses, roads, bridges, embankments and hundreds of schools,” the CNI reports.

The state’s Disaster Management Department said the monsoon rains had affected over 11 million people in 4822 villages. Indian Air Force helicopters have been air-dropping food to some villages cut off by the flood waters.

The Church has begun organizing food and relief shipments to the region and is working with other aid agencies to assist those affected by the flood. In addition to food aid, the Church anticipates a shortage of medical supplies, with cholera likely to arise from the stagnant waters.

The relief charity Christian Aid said its four partner organisations in India were reaching 60,000 people in the worst hit areas.

The CNI stated the floods were the worst in “living memory” with approximately 75,000 homes damaged or destroyed. “It may take years for the victims to recover from the damage and misery inflicted by the floods and the state government faces a big challenge to rebuild and repair the damage,” it said.

“This level of constant rainfall in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states is unprecedented. We have never witnessed this before,” said Christian Aid’s Anand Kumar.

“The monsoon season usually starts in late August. But [by early August there were] 15 days of sustained rainfall.”

Christian Aid predicted that with the rise in global warming, “such disasters and floods are set to become worse and more frequent in the future.

“The Asia floods demonstrate just how vulnerable the poorest communities are to the effects of climate change,” it said.

Aid Agencies Rush to Help After Peruvian Earthquake: CEN 8.31.07 p 6. September 3, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief, La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America, Mission Societies/Religious Orders.
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hugo-chavez.jpgAid agencies from across the Anglican Communion have come to the assistance of the Diocese of Peru following the Aug 15 earthquake that struck off the coast near Pisco.

Canadian, American, British and Australian church aid agencies have responded to the devastation wrought by the 8.0 magnitude earthquake by sending aid to groups working in the afflicted regions. Several hundred have been reported killed by the quake, including 150 people killed by the collapse of the roof of a Roman Catholic Church in Pisco.

The Bishop of Peru, the Rt. Rev. William Godfrey reports the diocese has opened soup kitchens in the towns of Guadalupe and San Juan Bautista, each feeding 5000 people a day. “Food, water and medicine continue to be the priority as well as tending to the injured,” Bishop Godfrey wrote on his diocesan website.

The diocese was also supporting “the injured who have been brought from the South to Lima’s hospitals. Many of them were brought in on stretchers with no personal belongings. We are providing food, clothing, medicines, prayer and counsel, and when the time comes transport back to their families,” he wrote.

The Roman Catholic charity Caritas, the Presbyterian Church in the United States, the USPG, Episcopal Relief and Development, Anglican Relief and Development, the Primates Fund for World Relief and other church agencies have responded to the quake with financial support and relief assistance. “We are working in conjunction with other churches and aid agencies, adding whatever we can to what God gives us,” he said.

Bishop Godfrey reported the Peruvian Civil Defence force’s “professionalism and organisation has been remarkable” in the aftermath of the quake. However, relief efforts had been “complicated by disorder, robbery and looting. There is great nervousness about the presence of unidentified strangers and the transportation of goods is almost impossible without army escort. Darkness is giving cover to gangs who loot houses and rob families of the little they still have,” he said.

Political machinations by Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez in quake’s aftermath have also been reported. Peru’s Expreso newspaper published photographs of cans of tinned tuna distributed to quake victims that sported a label with photos of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and left wing Peruvian opposition leader Ollanta Humala.

According to a report printed in the Los Angeles Times, the labels stated, “The Peruvian government acts in an inefficient, slow and heartless manner, notwithstanding the pain of the victims, leaving them to the mercy of hunger, thirst and delinquency.”

Popular outrage over the tuna tins has prompted the Venezuelan ambassador to deny responsibility, saying it was a plot to discredit Chavez and Humala. However, Expreso reported the tins were distributed from trucks owned by Humala’s Nationalist Party.

Bishop’s earthquake plea: CEN 2.23.01 February 23, 2001

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief, La Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America.
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For the third time in five weeks, an earthquake has ravaged the Central American republic of El Salvador. Measuring a magnitude of 5.3 on the Richter scale, the earthquake on Saturday February 17 sent thousands into the streets in fear of collapsing buildings and mudslides.

Speaking to the American television network, CNN, Dennis McClean of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies stated: “Preliminary information indicated that [the earthquake] is quite severe. Our people tell us that there was a fall of ash from a volcano on the edge of San Salvador, which indicates it was a very severe earthquake indeed.”

Relief teams are at work day and night helping the thousands now homeless. Many whose homes are still intact are afraid to return home due to the fear of further aftershocks. More than 2,000 aftershocks have occurred since the January 13 earthquake, and frightened residents are worried that another major tremor may strike during the night.

The combination of tremors, volcanic eruptions, and mud slides since the January earthquake has frayed nerves and provoked despair. The first earthquake of a magnitude 7.6 on the Richter scale killed at least 900 people and destroyed an estimated 250,000 homes. One month later on February 13 a second quake struck leaving a further 400 dead and destroying 45,000 homes, reports the American Red Cross.

The hardest hit area of the country was the suburban neighborhood of Las Colinas in Santa Tecla, seven miles west of San Salvador. Half of the nation ‘s death toll from the earthquake occurred when the side of a mountain dislodged causing an avalanche to cover the village with 20 feet of rock and mud.

An American missionary, Bert Sheffer, one of the first on the scene reported: “I saw a woman with a pick in her hand digging at the earth,” he said. “She was crying and saying over and over, ‘My children, my children’.”

The woman left her home to run an errand and when she returned her house had disappeared under the mountain. Digging alongside the distraught woman, Sheffer soon realized that the house was gone. Sheffer said he will always remember the woman’s plaintive cries weeping for her lost children, pleading for them to be returned to her.

The Rt Rev Martin Barahona, Anglican Bishop of El Salvador, has appealed for help. “I am making a new call to all of the Episcopal and Anglican Church of the world. for help. We need the solidarity of all of you to aid those that have been damaged.”

Speaking by telephone from El Salvador Bishop Barahona stated that following the first earthquake the Episcopal Church of El Salvador provided more than 26,000 prepared meals, blankets, plastic sheeting,and tents for the homeless. The Church’s resources are very limited, however, and foreign aid is needed to carry out the work of the Church amidst the devastation.

Some aid has begun to arrive from the Churches of England, Taiwan, Japan, Central American and the United States. Many within the international relief community are worried, however, that the El Salvador disaster, following so quickly after the Gujarat earthquake may cause “donor fatigue” and a lessening of assistance from the West to those in need in the less developed world.