Through its grants with partners, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is able to reach out to vulnerable populations in the world's crisis points.
But the denomination's relief and development agency, part of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, also is increasingly focused on disaster preparedness, water and sanitation needs and projects that will help communities meet basic needs and sustain livelihoods.
Grants approved by UMCOR's directors during their Oct. meeting addressed all of those issues, as well as those related to the significant efforts of Global Ministries in the area of global health.
In addition, a $120,000 grant will help fund a denominational Africa Agricultural Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa next year. The summit is designed as an initial and intentional effort by Global Ministries and UMCOR to support and develop new agricultural initiatives towards the sustainability of The United Methodist Church in Africa.
Larger international disaster response grants focused on projects in Lebanon, Laos, Yemen, Somaliland, Iraq and South Sudan.
Lebanon hosts the highest per capita population of refugees in the world. A grant of nearly $500,000 will allow American Near East Refugee Aid, an UMCOR partner, to respond to economic, health and educational needs as well as emergency humanitarian aid.
In countries as distant as Lebanon and Laos, UMCOR is providing grants of $492,212 and $500,000, respectively, to the Mines Advisory Group. The organization is reducing risk to civilians affected by conflict by clearing landmines and unexploded bombs and supporting improved management of weapons and ammunition.
The worst period of civilian casualties since 2016 in Yemen's civil war have brought a new wave of displacement and extreme needs for a humanitarian response. With a $500,000 grant, Muslim Aid — a longtime UMCOR partner — will work to provide access to water and improve public health and hygiene needs for 6,000 affected individuals.
In Iraq, hundreds of thousands of displaced persons are returning to their homes after four years of intense combat in the conflict with the Islamic State. The International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation will use a $505,500 UMCOR grant to provide immediate shelter to 22,750 vulnerable individuals returning to Ninewa.
UMCOR's first large-scale grant exclusively aimed at gender-based violence is for $500,000 to IsraAID, working in South Sudan, where violence against women and girls is pervasive in conflict zones.
Two other large disaster recovery grants were awarded in the U.S. With the help of a $204,700 grant from UMCOR, the Michigan Conference will staff a coordinator for disaster recovery ministries and the Rio Texas Conference received a $500,000 grant to assist one or two areas impacted by floods several times over the past few years.
Other significant disaster response grants were awarded in the U.S. and around the world.
Linda Bloom, assistant news editor for United Methodist News Service
One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, UMCOR Sunday calls United Methodists to share the goodness of life with those who hurt. Your gifts to UMCOR Sunday lay the foundation for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to share God's love with communities everywhere. The special offering underwrites UMCOR's "costs of doing business." This helps UMCOR to keep the promise that 100 percent of any gift to a specific UMCOR project will go toward that project, not administrative costs.
When you give generously on UMCOR Sunday, you make a difference in the lives of people who hurt. Give now.