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Typhoon disaster strikes Philippines

Typhoon disaster strikes Philippines – 19 Dec 2011

17 December 2011

More than 400 people have been killed after a typhoon struck the southern Philippines.

Hours of continuous rain unleashed flooding which has left tens of thousands of people homeless on the island of Mindanao, with the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan particularly badly affected.
Hundreds of people are missing following the storm, which struck on Friday night, with many of those unaccounted for being swept into the sea. A military spokesman said some villages had been entirely destroyed by the fast rising flood waters.

Tearfund has responded to many similar emergencies over the years, and we know that these next few days, when people are searching for loved ones and trying to retrieve valuable items, are extremely distressing for everyone in the community affected by floods.

Let’s pray for people who are grieving the loss of family and friends and for those who are living with the terrifying uncertainty of wondering whether their family members are still alive.

Pray for those who have lost their homes and their livelihoods because of the floods; that they will find the help they need to rebuild their lives.
We know that it’s going to be a long time before people in these communities feel that they have rebuilt their lives. Pray that they have the equipment and the help they need to ‘build back better’, to make sure that any future floods have less devastating impact.

There are many islands and countries around the world who are more prone to natural disasters than previously, because climates are changing. Pray that world leaders will reach an agreement to provide money to help vulnerable countries to prevent, prepare and respond to changing climates and natural disasters.

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Stories Of Your Living Gifts At Work.

Stories Of Your Living Gifts At Work. – 29 Nov 2011

For example, the gift of two pigs and five chickens has a dramatic impact on the life of a family in Cambodia.
Bred for food and income they are both an immediate and longer term solution to breaking the poverty cycle and protecting vulnerable rural families whose crops are subject to seasonal and climatic changes.

To buy your Living gifts go to;
Living Gifts

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Increasing desperation in East Africa

Increasing desperation in East Africa – 6 Oct 2011

‘This is the worst crisis we’ve ever experienced. We’ve gone from a reasonably successful life to utter devastation.’

The words of Salina Mamoru convey something of the detrimental impact of the drought affecting more than 13 million people in East Africa but her appearance and living conditions also speak volumes. The 37-year-old is staying in the Katilu displacement camp in Turkana, northern Kenya, a dry, sandy and dusty place that has no home comforts.

Yet people like Salina come here in hope they will find food and water, two things in incredibly short supply in northern Kenya, as well as Somalia and southern Ethiopia after months without rain.

For Salina and her neighbours, accommodation at the camp consists of huts made of mud and sticks, with a few residents having sheets of plastic to bolster their flimsy rooves.

Salina has six children to look after and all her money has gone on buying food and medicines to keep them alive. Her husband can’t find work in this parched landscape and there’s no help forthcoming from the government or anyone else.

Salina, who is thin and tired, prays for three things, that her sick children will get better, her husband will find work and there’ll be rain soon.

28-day walk

It’s a prayer echoed by mother-of-four Maka who walked 28 days through the bush between Somalia and Kenya. It was a sapping and heartbreaking journey, with Maka seeing people die along the way due to lack of food and water.

‘People would say “I can’t walk anymore” then sit down under a tree and die,’ she recalls. ‘We don’t have enough food and water. I don’t know what to do with my sick child.’

Tearfund partner, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC), is responding in northern Kenya, providing water and repairing broken boreholes to get supplies back on line. Fellow partner, Christian Community Services of Mount Kenya East (CCSMKE), is also helping by getting water to needy families through organising a shuttle of tankers to the area.

Across East Africa, seven Tearfund partners are tackling hunger caused mainly by drought and high food prices in the hardest-hit regions of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. Life-saving services are being provided to 100,000 refugees and displaced people through distributing food and water and providing cash-for-work, shelter materials and essential non-food items.

Tearfund is also involved in long term work to increase the resilience of communities by improving farming methods and the way people manage water.

However the forecasts are for the crisis to worsen over the coming months, with humanitarian help being needed well into 2012.

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Aid teams help Himalayan quake survivors

Aid teams help Himalayan quake survivors – 28 Sep 2011

Survivors of an earthquake which has rocked the Himalayan region are being helped by Tearfund partners.

The 6.9 magnitude quake struck on 18 September, affecting parts of India, Nepal and Tibet, killing at least 130 people. The epicentre was in the Indian state of Sikkim, where despite rescue efforts being hampered by heavy rainfall and landslides blocking roads, Tearfund partner teams were on the scene within 48 hours.

Thousands of people have been left injured and at least 15,000 people are homeless due to the collapse of buildings. Getting food, warm clothes, blankets and shelter to survivors is now the priority, particularly as many villages in Sikkim are rural, remote and difficult to get to.

Long treks

Tearfund has released emergency funds and four partners in India, Discipleship Centre, EFICOR, Emmanuel Hospital Association and NEICORD, are launching a coordinated aid effort to help the worst affected families.

A Tearfund spokesman in India said, ‘As roads are opening and media reports are coming through, we are seeing that damage to property and the number of casualties is quite high. The immediate need is to provide temporary shelter. Also there is an acute need for food supplies.’

In the district of Mangan, partner relief teams have trekked more than 20 miles across hilly terrain to reach communities that are inaccessible by road.

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Pumpynut - a miracle food

Pumpynut - a miracle food – 7 Sep 2011

Throughout the emergencies of the 1980s and 1990s, Tearfund’s emergency teams would set up therapeutic feeding centres in places like Ethiopia and Sudan – essentially intensive care units – in rural areas and mothers came from far and wide, bringing their children for treatment.

Children were fed with special foods that had to be prepared carefully to ensure that they got the correct benefit from it, and nursed back to health over a number of weeks. It was expensive, difficult and hugely disruptive to poor families who had to walk miles to the feeding centres. Added to that, it became clear that therapeutic feeding centres were only reaching a tiny percentage of people and doing virtually nothing to combat the causes of food shortages and malnutrition.

Pumpynut – a miracle solution

It was felt that there had to be a better and more effective way of tackling emergencies and combating malnutrition. The breakthrough came when a Frenchman called Andre Briend came up with a ready-prepared food called Plumpynut. Essentially, a nutritious high-energy paste made from nuts, Plumpynut requires no preparation and keeps for several months.

Tearfund knew that it was on to something that could revolutionise the approach to malnutrition. “Instead of bringing people in for treatment, we could bring this ready-to-eat food to them,” says Reuben Coulter, Chief Executive of Tearfund Ireland, who witnessed this approach in use in Darfur. With supplies of Plumpynut in local health facilities, more people could be reached and malnutrition could be caught earlier.

Even in emergency situations it was found that most severely malnourished children don’t need major medical attention. With Plumpynut and the minimum medical attention, they get better. If the child doesn’t have any medical complications they can be sent home with their mother and a few weeks supply of this food. The child recovers in front of the community because of the food the mother is feeding it rather than because of some magic cure by some foreign doctor – the empowerment and value to that mother is enormous.

Going global

Realising the potential of this approach, the Irish aid agency Concern teamed up with another organisation called Valid International, and conducted extensive trials and research. Tearfund also became involved and together they compiled whole body of evidence confirming the success of community management of acute malnutrition (CMAM)* as it became known. Today this approach is used in all Tearfund’s nutrition programmes in emergency situations.

The evidence was brought to the World Health Organisation (WHO). CMAM and Plumpynut was able to help 75 percent of malnourished children at lower cost, better survival rates and less disruption to the families. In 2007, the WHO changed its policy to recommend this approach to dealing with malnutrition, and more children’s lives have been saved as a result.

East Africa drought tightens its grip

East Africa drought tightens its grip – 1 Sep 2011

In some parts of the drought-affected country, more than 50 per cent of the population are suffering acute malnutrition. Overall, 3.7 million people need food urgently.

Five areas of central and southern Somalia were declared famine zones in July but the Famine Early Warning Systems is warning more areas could join that list over the next four to six weeks.

Drought during the April to June rainy season resulted in the lowest crop production for 17 years, with matters worsened by crop pests and diseases. This combined with ‘exorbitant’ cereal prices has put food beyond the means of most Somalis.

Access to Somalia is difficult because of its long-standing armed conflict but Tearfund partner World Concern is helping refugees coming across the Somali border into northern Kenya, providing water, sanitation and essential household items. World Concern is also supplying emergency aid to 12,000 people in neighbouring Somaliland.

Somali refugees have also been crossing into Ethiopia, with more than 76,000 arriving in the Dollo Ado area since January.

Ethiopia has at least 4.6 million people in need of food aid, with high levels of acute malnutrition in southern regions.

Tearfund partners are working to strengthen the ability of communities’ to withstand the worsening crisis, for example by running cash-for-work schemes to boost incomes.

Life-saving help

However there are growing fears that Ethiopia will require relief aid up until the end of 2012.

In Kenya, 3.2 million people in the country’s north are suffering severe food shortages and here Tearfund partners are providing water, hygiene kits, cooking utensils and shelter materials.

Across the entire region, Tearfund partners are helping more than 93,000 people affected by the food crisis.

Robert Schofield, Tearfund’s Disaster Management Director, said, ‘The situation in East Africa continues to deteriorate and there are now more than 12 million people across the region in need.

‘We very much appreciate all the financial support for our East Africa appeal which means we can bring life-saving assistance to thousands of people affected by the drought and famine. I urge supporters to continue to pray for the relief and recovery effort across Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.’

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