Category Archives: Disaster Relief
Malteser International Americas Announces Thomas A. Wessels as Succeeding President of Disaster Relief Organization
MIAMI, Dec. 28, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Malteser International Americas, the Miami-based global humanitarian organization and relief agency of the Order of Malta, has elected MG (Ret) Thomas A. Wessels, KMOb, of Atlanta, Georgia as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Mr. Wessels, former First Vice President at Merrill Lynch and retired Major General of the United States Army Reserves, currently sits as a Director on the Board of Directors, and he is a Knight of Malta in Obedience for the Order of Malta, U.S. Federal Association.
His financial acumen combined with his strategic military experience are tremendous assets, which will drive the organization effectively forward in a fiscally responsible manner, while being a dutiful champion of the organization’s mission to serve vulnerable and marginalized people, and ensure they live a healthy life with dignity.
“I live by my faith and have taken a vow to care for the poor and the sick, and in my new role as President of Malteser International Americas, I pledge to live by the organizations’ faithful values of caring, accountability, teamwork, and excellence,” said Thomas A. Wessels, President-Elect, Malteser International Americas. “I am honored to use my lifetime of experience to help build greater awareness of the fine work Malteser International does for those affected by poverty, disease, conflict and disaster,” he continued.
The President-Elect will assume his new role on January 1, 2017, when he takes over for retiring President, James F. O’Connor, who – for the last six years in his leadership role – has exhibited a great commitment of coming to the aid of the world’s most vulnerable.
“Jim is a fearless leader who also possesses a heart filled with compassion for his fellow man, especially those who are suffering. He has played an integral role in the success and growth of the organization since its inception. The excellent work that he accomplished during his tenure has brought Malteser International Americas into the hearts and minds of our supporters in the Western Hemisphere,” said Ravi Tripptrap, Executive Director, Malteser International Americas.
“In the six years I have presided over the Board of Directors, I have seen families ripped apart by devastation. Natural and manmade disasters in the Americas, and across the globe, have left so many with despair. Fortunately, our emergency relief efforts at Malteser International Americas, give these survivors hope. That is why I have worked diligently to make sure that vulnerable and marginalized people in forgotten regions in this world get the help they need when they need it,” said James F. O’Connor, President, Malteser International Americas. “Tom, a fellow Knight of the Order, brings a wealth of experience to this position, and I wish him continued success in the years to come.”
This year alone, Malteser International Americas has been at the forefront of tackling some of the greatest challenges facing the Americas:
Implemented immediate relief measures in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew to provide survivors with critical hygiene materials to reduce the risk of another deadly cholera epidemic, and dispensed clean-up kits and aid to restore livelihood
Took action in Colombia to educate and protect pregnant women and their unborn babies from the Zika virus by providing prevention kits to often neglected populations where stagnant water is an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos
Launched a fresh water program in the southwest of Haiti where the worst drought in 35 years has put those already experiencing profound poverty and extreme vulnerability in further jeopardy
Created a new program aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality in remote areas of Colombia by providing those who are at-risk, and have been discriminated against, access to rehabilitated, better-equipped health centers with trained female health care workers
Also newly elected is Edward J. Delaney, KM, of Winchester, Massachusetts. He currently sits as a Director on the Board and he was appointed to Vice President. Mr. Delaney brings to the position entrepreneurial expertise and substantial business experience. He is a Knight of Malta for the Order of Malta, U.S. American Association.
The Malteser International Americas’ Board of Directors is composed of 10 volunteer members representing a variety of personal and professional backgrounds. The board is currently comprised of a team of experienced leaders with combined experience in fundraising, finance, law, corporate governance, education, strategic planning, and senior management.
About Malteser International Americas:
Malteser International Americas is a global humanitarian organization with a mission of supporting the vulnerable and marginalized so that they may live a healthy life with dignity. Through our U.S. headquarters, Malteser International Americas provides immediate disaster response and preparedness as well as vital healthcare and nutrition to vulnerable people in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean. Visit www.orderofmaltarelief.org to learn more.
What would happen if the strongest hurricane to strike the Atlantic in over a decade, were to make landfall in our hemisphere’s poorest country ? Unfortunately we are about to find out. This morning Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti bringing 145 MPH winds and horrific floods. Obviously this did not happen without warning, and every disaster aid group in the book is looking to help. One Christian ministry among all of them is ideally suited for this disaster. During times of disaster or not Mission of Hope Haiti’s focus is on Haiti. They have served Haiti since 1998. Even in more normal times they serve 90,000 meals per day, and treat 30,000 patients annually. They started gearing up for this crisis on Saturday. Before the storm even made landfall they had ore-positioned over 200,000 meals.
Working from their own in country facilities, and their U.S. office outside Austin, Texas in partnership with their HaitiOne network of over 500 indigenous partner organizations across the nation they have already come up with a relief plan that includes the following,
35 million meals
350 million units of water
750,000 temporary shelters
Medical care for 280,000 patients
After the first 14 days of relief efforts the group plans to transition into a 45 day recovery plan, then into a longer term sustainability plan.
Mission of Hope Haiti are veterans of both the 2008 hurricane, and 2010 earthquake in Haiti. They have also been there for the Haitian people everyday in between. Those wishing to help Mission of Hope Haiti in this dire time can text @mohhaiti to 52014, to donate to MOH Disaster Relief. Or you can donate online. At the very least please extend your prayers to Mission of Hope Haiti, the Haitian people, and all those being affected by Hurricane Matthew !
WHEATON, Ill., June 1, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — The Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) will host the 4th annual Disaster Ministry Conference at the Meyer Science Center on the campus of Wheaton College on June 7-10, 2016.
“The purpose of our conference is to equip church and lay leaders to lead their congregations in preparing for disasters and in serving those affected, as well as to foster collaboration between churches and other organizations,” said Dr. Jamie Aten, HDI’s founder and co-director, Dr. Arthur P. Rech and Mrs. Jean May Rech Associate Professor of Psychology, at Wheaton College.
The event will feature global leaders in the fields of disaster ministry, emergency management, humanitarian aid, public health and mental health. “Caring for the Vulnerable” is this year’s theme. In alignment with the theme, topics to be addressed will include discussions on refugee care, meeting the unique needs of people with disabilities and of children during and following disasters and more.
“Disasters are unrelenting in this fallen world-whether it’s tsunamis, hurricanes or active shooters, there always seems to be something that calls for a response from the people of God. HDI has become a global leader in helping the church respond to humanitarian disasters of all kinds,” said Dr. Philip Ryken, president of Wheaton College.
Bishop Efraim Tendero, secretary general/CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance, will be the keynote speaker this year. “This conference is vital to help the church understand how it can better be the hands and feet of Jesus in a disaster,” he said. “I look forward to sharing my heart with attendees and know that God is going to use the vital information that both I and my fellow conference speakers have to share in order to help ministries wrap their heads around what it takes to minister to their communities after a disaster.”
With a special focus on the current refugee crisis as a result of the atrocities taking place in the Middle East, the conference will also offer several breakout sessions, a workshop, and a special event/panel on the Church and the Refugee Crisis led by Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research and well-known speaker, author and radio show personality.
Featured speakers also include the following experts: Sheryl Haw, international director for Micah Global; Kent Annan, author of Slow Kingdom Coming and co-director and co-founder of Haiti Partners; Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, health psychologist and owner/editor-in-chief of Praeclarus Press; Hugh Heinrichsen, Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Redeemer’s Fellowship who will be talking about his church’s response to the Umpqua Community College mass shooting and Rev. David Myers, director of the Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“With expertise from speakers on topics critical to providing care for the vulnerable, participants will gain new knowledge, skills and networks for effectively leading their congregations in developing disaster ministries and becoming more resilient,” said Dr. Aten.
For a full list of speakers and the conference schedule visit: www.disasterministryconference.com. Continuing education credits are available for mental healthprofessionals.*
HDI is the first social science research center in the country devoted to the study of faith and disasters. More information about the Humanitarian Disaster Institute is available at wheaton.edu/HDI.
*Wheaton College has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 4597. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Wheaton College is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Chaplains Enter Fort McMurray, Prepare for Return of Residents into Fire-Devastated Community
CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 27, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team have deployed to fire-ravaged Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, and are ministering to first responders and utility workers as they endeavor to restore critical functions in the city.
The chaplains will maintain a presence in Fort McMurray as residents begin returning to the area on June 1. Many will be seeing what is left of their homes for the first time since hastily evacuating in the face of the enormous wildfire in early May.
It is reported that the fire has now burned more than 566,000 hectares (more than 1.4 million acres) across the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Jack Munday, the international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, said, “The devastation caused by the Fort McMurray fire has resulted in more suffering than we can imagine. As the residents return, we need to pray for God’s hope and comfort as they face intense grief in their loss.”
Munday continued, “Our chaplains have been in the area for several days. We will continue to be there to offer emotional and spiritual care to those who have been working long, brutal days to get the city back up and running, and for those who are returning home to find that their whole world has changed.”
Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains from Canada and the United States are partnering in the effort. The group has deployed in coordination with Samaritan’s Purse, the Christian disaster relief organization also headed by Franklin Graham. Together the two ministries will address the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those who have been affected.
In addition to the work in Fort McMurray, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team currently has chaplains in Ecuador (earthquake) and West Monroe, La. (flooding). They recently completed ministry efforts in the Houston, Texas, area (flooding).
For more information on the ministry, including videos, photos, news articles and an interactive map of former and current deployments, visit www.billygraham.org/rrt. Updates can also be found at www.facebook.com/RRTChaplains.
About the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team:
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was developed by Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It has since grown into a nationwide network of chaplains in 48 states who are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. They have deployed to more than 215 disaster sites, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.
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By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield
Disasters come in many shapes and sizes. A Family may find itself facing their home lost in a fire, a job loss, death of a member and any other things. A Community could face wildfires, tornadoes, floods, disease out breaks, explosions etc. Over the years I have been a Red Cross Disaster volunteer, a state guardsman, a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarist, and a fire department chaplain. I have at least minimal training or experience responding to disaster with boats, planes, helicopters and more I even read recently about NASA’s new CYGNSS microsatellites which will greatly increase hurricane predictions. So I have a pretty good idea of what can be done to help people in all sizes of disasters. And I do not want to be misunderstood, these groups do very critical work in times of disaster, and I am very proud of the associations I have been blessed to have with them
Years ago I met John Glenn when he was running for president. If running for president wasn’t enough he had already been a highly decorated Marine, one of our country’s most legendary astronauts, and a U.S. Senator. When I first met Rick Perry who is currently running for president he was Texas’ elected Agriculture Commissioner. He came to Houston to ask me and a couple of dozen other local leaders if he should run for Lt. Governor. All told I have help appointed office, or other positions at the party, city, county, regional, state, and federal levels. So I also have a fair idea what can be done from the halls of power for disaster or anything else.
All of which I tell you so you will fully grasp what I am about to say. Out of all the power I have seen be it political, governmental, non profit groups, I have only witness on power great enough to see you through any disaster that may come your way. That power is the power of prayer !
Only power can grant you peace when the storms are ranging. Prayer is the key to the strength you need when yours alone is not enough. Prayer is so powerful that even non spiritual people find that the simple act of venting their challenges through praying (especially aloud) actually does help them. The point of this last point is very powerful alone. Think about it for a minute, even if God were not real ( but of course he is !) there is very good reason to believe that pray could still help ! You truly have nothing to lose !.
When the fire department, Red Cross or whomever have left. Prayer and its pipeline to God will still be there for you. It will never leave you.
T.D. Jakes once had this to say about the value of prayer in times of adversity,
“ Prayer will get you out of a pinch, prayer will get you out of a crises, prayer will get you out of your dilemma, prayer will get you out of your trouble.”
Jakes in his comment even seems to emphasis just as a do that prayer has the ability to scale itself so that it is more than big enough to tackle whatever you may be facing !
I have seen just about every kind of power this world has to offer. So I can tell you with great creditability, that when you are facing disaster large or small nothing has the power to see you through like prayer !
Chaplains Deploying to Provide Emotional and Spiritual Care After Deadly Blanco River Flooding
CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 27, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team are on the ground in San Marcos, Texas, to provide emotional and spiritual care following the devastating and deadly floods that have caused widespread destruction throughout the area. From there, the chaplains will help bring assistance to nearby Wimberley and other areas affected by the overflow from the Blanco River, which – according to news reports – crested at more than 44 feet, far beyond the river’s flood stage of 13 feet.
Even as the response in San Marcos begins, the ministry is continuing to assess other flooded areas in Texas for additional potential deployments.
“We mourn with the families that lost loved ones, some of whom have not yet been found,” said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. “And we grieve with those who lost every last thing that they own, all of their dreams washed away in a surge of dirty water. The width and depth of this tragedy is extensive and heart-breaking. Please be in prayer for all of those – and there are so many – who have been tragically impacted by this storm.”
The organization has responded in coordination with Samaritan’s Purse, the Christian disaster relief organization headed by Franklin Graham, who is also president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team just wrapped up a deployment to Van, Texas, some 255 miles northeast of San Marcos, following a tornado outbreak in the small community earlier this month.
For more information on the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, including videos, photos, news articles and an interactive map of former and current deployments, visit www.billygraham.org/rrt. Updates can also be found at www.facebook.com/BGRapidResponseTeam.
About the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team:
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was developed by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It has since grown into a nationwide network of chaplains in 48 states who are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. They have deployed to more than 195 disaster sites, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.
Global Hope Network International Has a Plan to Help Nepal Rebuild, and it Won’t Cost Billions in Western Aid
ORLANDO, Fla., May 26, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Government leaders in Nepal have asked Global Hope Network International (GHNI), an experienced non-governmental organization already working in that country, to provide relief and to help the hardest-hit villages begin moving toward rehabilitation and sustainability.
The organization is acting quickly to meet immediate needs of earthquake survivors. It also has a long-term plan to help the people of Nepal; one that doesn’t require billions in Western aid.
“We believe it’s possible to bring not only much-needed relief following natural disasters, but also a hope-filled future, free from the perpetual cycle of poverty,” explains GHNI’s president, Hal Jones.
Global Hope Network is working to provide food, water, medication, sleeping mats and tents to the Nepali people. Rather than shipping these supplies from thousands of miles away, GHNI is purchasing locally and from neighboring countries. The results? Needs are met more quickly and the regional economy is stimulated, building a foundation for rebuilding.
Once immediate needs have been met, GHNI workers will begin a coaching-based process called Transformational Community Development (TCD), helping the people of Nepal to help themselves out of severe poverty. Through TCD, Global Hope Network is successfully empowering those living in extreme poverty to end it themselves in more than 40 countries worldwide.
Working with GHNI’s staff, villagers are empowered to find solutions to the five key areas known to contribute to cyclical poverty—clean, accessible water; locally grown nutritious food; wellness education to prevent disease; education for all children; and sustainable family income generation.
Staffers help villagers form five development committees, then coach the committees in the low-cost, low-tech, locally available ways that lead to sustainable transformation.
“This method offers a hand up, rather than a hand out,” Mr. Jones concludes. “By buying locally and working collaboratively, we can help the poorest villages of the world transform themselves.”
Formed in 2000, Global Hope Network International is bringing help and hope to the hidden and hurting in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Learn more at globalhopenetwork.org.
KATHMANDU, Nepal, May 8, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Members from many GFA-supported churches in India are responding unconditionally to the disastrous April 25 earthquake in Nepal with widespread prayer, fasting, generous giving, clothing and food drives, as well as sending relief teams to help restore their neighboring country.
Photo: Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries, Believers Church pastors and Bridge of Hope staff pass out rice to earthquake victims in the Nuwakot District of Nepal. Twenty Believers Church members in the district lost their homes in the quake.
They are taking their own initiative to help bring relief there, knowing first-hand what it’s like to go through significant natural disasters in their own country. Their actions demonstrate the strength of the Christian church in South Asia.
“Many who have personally experienced the devastation of powerful earthquakes and storms are now responding to help others,” said Dr. K.P. Yohannan, founder and international director of GFA. “The local church, led by and composed of nationals in South Asia, is rising to the occasion by helping to meet the needs of earthquake victims.”
Among those responding are Believers Church congregations in the Uttar Pradesh region of northern India. Churches from this area have already sent truckloads of blankets, rice, flour, bread and other foods, and are collecting funds to send more.
One of the most generous responses is being organized in Delhi. After suffering through an earthquake in 2001 that killed more than 10,000, one of the leaders on the field, Dr. Simon John, said he can personally sense the sadness many Nepalese are suffering. “As soon as we heard about the earthquake, our staff individually and collectively started praying for bereaved families and working to collect relief supplies,” he said.
In the Punjab area, floods and landslides destroyed thousands of homes a year ago, with heavy rains again badly damaging wheat crops this spring. Yet field leader Pastor Martin said churches there immediately began to support victims in Nepal. “Three days after the earthquake, we had collective prayer and fasting,” Martin said. “Our churches will be continually praying for the people as we trust God to rebuild Nepal.”
Gospel for Asia-supported Believers Churches in Kolkata have contributed enough donations to set a goal of rebuilding at least 100 homes, providing rations to 200 families for two to three weeks, and providing for children’s educational needs. Members also plan to collect donations of clothing and send it when conditions in Nepal make that feasible.
Numerous churches have already been involved in fasting and prayer, such as in Bihar, which called for a three-day period of special fasting and prayer for God’s grace, peace and healing in Nepal. Church-wide observances are scheduled for May 8 in Delhi and May 12 in Udaipur.
Gospel for Asia has served the church in Nepal for more than 25 years. For decades, the ministry has also provided disaster relief throughout South Asia when tragedy strikes areas it serves, such as after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
GFA supports 450 churches, 20 Bridge of Hope children centers and Bible schools in Nepal. Some were destroyed or damaged by the earthquake, Nepal’s worst in 80 years. Many church leaders and members have lost their homes or can no longer safely live in them.
Gospel for Asia (www.gfa.org) is a mission organization sharing the love of Jesus across South Asia.