UMCOR offers aid in Peru earthquake|
By United Methodist News Service
Aug. 17, 2007
The United Methodist Committee on Relief is responding to the Aug. 15 earthquake that leveled several cities in Peru and killed more than 400 people – making the quake the deadliest in the South American country since 1970.
The relief agency has offered aid to the Methodist Church of Peru and is working to provide a grant to Action by Churches Together, an international relief alliance that has mobilized a response team to Peru.
UMCOR also is inviting United Methodists to contribute to its international disaster response fund to help in the recovery efforts.
"… Please know of our continuing prayers for the people of Peru as the recovery effort begins," wrote the Rev. Sam W. Dixon, interim top staff executive of UMCOR, in an e-mail to the Rev. Jorge Bravo, bishop of the Methodist Church of Peru. "UMCOR would like to be of assistance to the conference in any recovery efforts the church may be planning."
Authorities in Peru report more than 800 people injured in the 8.0-magnitude earthquake and many people displaced. More than 16,000 homes were seriously damaged, nearly all in the southern cities of Pisco and Ica. The death toll is expected to rise.
"… Please know of our continuing prayers for the people of Peru as the recovery effort begins."
- The Rev. Sam W. Dixon
As damage assessments continue, UMCOR officials say aid to the Peruvian church is likely to include funding to address immediate relief and long-term recovery, as well as deployment of experienced disaster response personnel. Noting that Methodist churches exist in the southern part of Peru, where damage was heaviest, Dixon said a portion of the funding will assist with rebuilding uninsured churches that were damaged.
Meanwhile, a United Methodist Volunteer in Mission team from North Carolina was not impacted by the earthquake and planned to return as scheduled Aug. 19 from its 10-day mission trip. The crew from North Raleigh United Methodist Church was working at a Methodist church north of Lima when the quake hit, according to the Rev. Kim Lamb, associate pastor at North Raleigh and leader of the mission team.
"The ground started shaking and the power lines started dancing," Lamb wrote in an e-mail to church staff members. "… No one of us seemed really frightened, which was good. The people here were pretty panicked. We lost power. Watching the transformers blow against the desert mountains was one of the most amazing things to see."
The Methodist Church of Peru and the North Carolina Annual Conference share a covenant relationship, begun in the 1990s with visits of mission teams and volunteers.
People wishing to donate to recovery efforts in Peru may give to UMCOR Advance #982450, International Disaster Response, and designate it for the Peru earthquake. Checks can be placed in church offering plates or mailed to UMCOR, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. Credit-card donations may be made by calling (888) 252-6174 or by going online to http://new.gbgm-umc.org/.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or email@example.com.
Hundreds die in Peru earthquake
United Methodist Committee on Relief
North Raleigh (N.C.) United Methodist Church