International Disaster Response

When a natural or human-caused disaster strikes outside of the United States, UMCOR serves as the primary channel for United Methodist assistance. In the short-term, UMCOR provides funds to our partners to distribute food, hygiene supplies, shelter and other basic needs to ease human suffering. In the long-term, we work with local partners towards recovery and reconstruction.

In its programming approach, UMCOR adheres to Sphere Minimum Standards in humanitarian response and the International Committee of the Red Cross Humanitarian Code of Conduct. UMCOR works through capacity building efforts and accompaniment to support that partners do the same.

Bolster Response Efforts


Current Disaster Response

Monsoon Rains in South Asia

Almost 6 million people are currently affected by rising flood waters as a result of heavy monsoon rains in South Asia. In India, the states of Assam and Bihar were most severely impacted, with more than 1 million people displaced by flooding. Approximately 200 landslides in the area of Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh have likewise caused vast displacement in an area home to 900,000 Rohingya refugees. As of July 17, 2019, 78 people have died and 32 people have been reported missing in Nepal due to landslides and flooding events. Representatives of humanitarian aid organizations are expressing urgent concern about food security and possible disease outbreaks as a result of these events. UMCOR International Disaster Response is in close communication with our partners in South Asia, receiving updates, situation reports and information on disaster response efforts, which are ongoing as a result of continued rains.

Earthquakes in the Philippines

In response to a magnitude 6.1 earthquake on Luzon Island and a magnitude 6.3 earthquake on Samar Island, UMCOR is in close communication with the Disaster Management Offices (DMO) in the Manila and Davao episcopal areas. Disaster Management Coordinators are utilizing pre-established communication channels to share and relay information with local-level volunteers. Disaster Management Officers are preparing to assess the areas most affected by the earthquake to gauge need and capacities for response. UMCOR will continue to support and facilitate the Philippines Central Conference through the Disaster Management Offices as they assess conditions, analyze results, and proceed accordingly to address needs.

Cyclone Kenneth in Mozambique

In preparation for a forecasted landfall of Cyclone Kenneth in Mozambique, the UMCOR-supported Mozambique Disaster Management Coordinator (DMC), Mr. Respeito Chirrinze, has alerted UMC staff and it has been communicated to churches and members to keep doors and windows of buildings closed to minimize effects on infrastructure of the cyclone as well as to look for safe buildings to shelter in.

Additionally, the National Disaster Management Institute of Mozambique will be sending a team to the projected epicenter, Pemba, while the DMC will be following the situation from a safe distance to be close by to go in post-cyclone to implement an assessment of the effects.

UMCOR response to Cyclone Idai

UMCOR approved three $10,000 solidarity grants. The Malawi Provisional Annual Conference, The United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe and The United Methodist Church in Mozambique will each receive a grant in response to Cyclone Idai’s devastating rains and flooding.

The grants will provide immediate emergency funding for basic human needs including food distribution, hygiene supplies/clothing distribution, safe water access and temporary shelter.

The Mozambique Episcopal Area disaster management coordinator is conducting assessments in two provinces and is in communication with district superintendents.

Read more about UMCOR’s immediate response through the stories below.

Earthquakes and Tsunami in Indonesia

UMCOR is fortunate to consistently work with many partners in Indonesia. We are currently coordinating with partners on the ground to address immediate needs of vulnerable people affected by the earthquakes and tsunami.

We have been in contact with Methodist Church leadership to support assessment, initial relief work and further evaluation and prioritization of needs as we reach recovery phases.

Typhoon Mangkhut

Since 2017, UMCOR has trained and funded Disaster Management teams in order to empower communities to proactively alleviate suffering caused by the effects of disasters. Their work allows for communities' advance awareness and preparedness, aligning with the efforts of other conference teams and ecumenical councils from across the region.

At a national level, this initiative ensures that the maximum number of people are prepared for a storm’s impact. Moreover, the Manilla, Davao and Baguio Episcopal Area offices continue to distribute daily weather advisories to community leaders.

UMCOR IDR has authorized a 10,000 USD Solidarity grant to address immediate needs in the most hard hit provinces of Baguio while the Disaster Management Coordinators in the Philippines continue to work with their communities after Typhoon Mangkhut and maintain their assessment of damages and analysis of needs.

International Disaster Response efforts from UMCORDisaster Risk Reduction

Even after the initial disaster is over, people are often endangered by subsequent disasters. UMCOR’s Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) program help communities to identify vulnerabilities and attend to those before another disaster strikes. In the Philippines, for instance, building a retaining wall or planting mangroves can help keep a storm surge from causing extensive damage in coastal communities. Training people what to do in a disaster is also a key step in reducing the damaging effects of future disasters.

Disaster Risk Reduction addresses fundamental problems like environmental degradation, climate change, infrastructural inequality and political negligence through small-scale, localized solutions. Even as we administer disaster response grants, UMCOR pays attention to systemic issues related to community health, sustainable agriculture, water and sanitation, education, economic justice and reconstruction.

UMCOR uses the Hyogo Framework for Action, a disaster response strategy endorsed by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), helping to substantially reduce the number of disaster losses.

More news and stories about International Disaster Response

Deadly earthquake damages Filipino churches

United Methodists in Porac are picking up the pieces after a powerful earthquake struck the main Philippines island of Luzon on Monday, killing at least 16 people.

Church embraces cyclone survivors in Zimbabwe

The United Methodist Church has rallied to provide relief to those affected by Cyclone Idai, which ravaged Chimanimani and Chipinge more than two weeks ago.

UMCOR grants aid initial cyclone response

United Methodists are starting to respond to those affected by Cyclone Idai, which left devastation in parts of three African countries.