Wednesday, November 20, 2013

News & Resources from Episcopal Relief and Development

As you read this post I will be enjoying fellowship with my fellow YASCers, Will, Katie and Sara, in Hong Kong!

Image via // Photo: REUTERS/Erik De Castro
As you all know from the news reports, Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Central Philippines on November 8, 2013. It caused great destruction and damage knocking out power, communication and killing thousands in its path. Heartbreaking stories have been all over the news here in the Philippines. Many have wondered and asked how they can help. While there are many great relief organizations setting up camp in Tacloban and other damage areas who you could donate to, I believe Episcopal Relief and Development is a wonderful organization taking the long view on disaster recovery. Their plan isn't simply to provide immediate help but to work with community churches to assess and plan for years to come in order to make the community self-sustainable again.

This article was posted on the Episcopal Relief and Development blog on Monday, November 11 and written by Sean McConnell, Director of Engagement:

Taking the Long View on Disaster Recovery

When Typhoon Haiyan struck, a colleague and I were packing our bags for a visit with our partners in the Philippines. Initially, it wasn't clear if the typhoon would set things back since the Philippines experience around 20 typhoons a year, and as a result have built a capacity for responding resiliently in their wake. So, we were cautiously on stand-by until it became clear yesterday that our visit might be more hindrance than help. By the time the typhoon hit, I had already posted to Facebook that I was departing for the Philippines, so friends and colleagues naturally reached out to find out how Episcopal Relief & Development would respond. I explained that Episcopal Relief & Development takes the long view on disasters response and recovery. This makes sense if you know what we mean by three Rs of Disasters: Rescue, Relief and Recovery.

Currently, for Typhoon Haiyan, we are in the  “Rescue” phase.  All hands are on deck to help save lives and property. This phase involves finding and treating the immediate medical needs of survivors and stabilizing ongoing hazards, such as shifting buildings. This type of work is best left to the pros ­– government and military search-and-rescue teams. These groups also have equipment that can clear roads and debris, as well as large specialized operations with mass distribution systems and strategically positioned warehouses. The “Rescue” phase can take one to two weeks, sometimes longer.

The next phase is the “Relief” phase, when the focus turns to creating short-term safe and sanitary conditions. The church is often one of the first places people go to seek assistance and shelter. Right now, our partners are coordinating with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines to assess and prepare a response to these types of needs. The “Relief” phase typically lasts a few months.

Eventually, we get to the third and final phase: “Recovery.”  During recovery the emphasis shifts to restoring services, repairing houses and buildings, returning individuals to self-sufficiency and rebuilding communities. The challenge of the “Recovery” phase is that most of the television cameras have moved on, but in many cases, the human suffering has grown. It is a chronic state, not a crisis. This however is the phase that Episcopal Relief & Development and its worldwide partners excel at. Whether we are in Haiti, Colorado or the Philippines, we work closely with the churches that are part of the fabric of these communities. As such, we get to know the needs intimately alongside those who understand how best to meet them.

In times of disaster, our staff immediately begins coordinating with our partners to prepare for the “Relief” phase and secure resources for the “Recovery” phase. We can't predict exactly what will be needed in any given disaster, but we are committed to responding appropriately while taking the long view towards sustainable disaster recovery.

I ask your prayers for our sisters and brothers in the Philippines.    

For more information on Typhoon Haiyan and on Episcopal Relief & Development’s response, please visit:  

More Resources and News: 

Personal Announcement: 

Thanks to the generosity and kindness of all of you in the Diocese of Virginia, I was able to raise over the required $10,000 for my YASC year! 

I've been waiting to find a project or effort to support in the Philippines with the extra funds. This past week the Episcopal Diocese of Davao reached out to Episcopal Diocese of Santiago for help in relief effort from the destruction of Typhoon Haiyan. I've decided to send some of my extra YASC funds to support those greatly affected. 

This donation wouldn't have been possible without the generous donations of all of you who support me. The donation will be made on behalf of the Diocese of Virginia. Thank You!

Thanks for reading and your continued prayers for those affected!

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