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

Explosions in Beruit

UMCOR has awarded solidarity grants to The Middle East Council of Churches, the Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue and the Joint Christian Committee (Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees, Lebanon) in support of their local response to the August 4 explosion. These funds will help to procure and deliver essential food and hygiene supplies, nonfood items such as bedding and cooking supplies, and provide psychosocial support for vulnerable children and adults.

Flooding in Nepal

Monsoon rains have resulted in flooding and landslides in several municipalities across the country. As of mid-July, more than 300 homes have been damaged; hundreds of people have died, are injured, or have been reported as missing. An UMCOR solidarity grant is providing immediate relief assistance in the form of food kits and hygiene supplies for rural communities.

Tropical storms Amanda and Cristobal

In late May and early June, Amanda and Cristobal impacted regions across El Salvador. Amanda has been considered the worst storm to affect El Salvador in 22 years. An estimated 2,800 hectares of crops were damaged and around 30,000 structures were damaged or likely destroyed by flooding and landslides. A grant to the Salvadoran Lutheran Synod is providing assistance through food baskets, medicine and hygiene kits, metal material for roof repair and small stoves to 130 families affected by the storms as well the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Flooding in East Congo

The people of East Congo endured severe flooding that claimed lives, homes, churches and schools in late April. UMCOR is working with both the North Katanga and East Congo episcopal areas and is offering support to the local disaster management coordinators and volunteers as they respond to urgent community needs. Food such as rice, cornmeal and oil have been distributed to flood survivors.

Taal Volcano Eruption in the Philippines

In partnership with UMCOR, the Manila Episcopal Area Disaster Management Office identified and distributed food and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) needs to those displaced by the eruption in mid-January. Continued coordination and communication in the disaster recovery efforts are ongoing, such as working to restore livelihoods once evacuees return to their villages.

For the most up to date information, follow the UMCOR Facebook page.

Hurricane Dorian

UMCOR awarded a solidarity grant to Bahamas Methodist Habitat (BMH), the Disaster Ministry of the Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church (BCMC), and the Bahamas Turks and Caicos Island Conference (BTCIC) of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas (MCCA). These grants provided immediate funding to address the basic human needs of those affected by this catastrophic storm.


UMCOR response to Cyclone Idai

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

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


Earthquakes and Tsunami in Indonesia

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

We are partnering with Methodist Church leadership to support assessment, relief work and evaluation and prioritization 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

Puerto Rico recovers from 2017 hurricanes, aided by UMCOR, UMVIM

The month of September marks two years since Hurricane Maria brought widespread destruction to Puerto Rico. The recovery has progressed steadily, thanks largely to the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, and with the help of UMCOR training and funding and more than 200 Volunteer in Mission teams.

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.