How Were Your Relief Donations Spent in 2018?

 Hurricane Maria devastated the power grid across Puerto Rico. Photo by Mark Baker, Water Mission.

Hurricane Maria devastated the power grid across Puerto Rico. Photo by Mark Baker, Water Mission.

“Thank you for Helping us. God bless you.

Democratic Republic of Congo, Florida, Puerto Rico

 
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“Parts of the country are still cleaning up after 2017’s devastating hurricane season, but forecasters are already sounding a warning bell about 2018,” according to Fortune.

The 2018 Hurricane Season officially began June 1st. But before the next storm hits, we wanted to share encouraging news from our partners about recent relief efforts.

Your donations to relief efforts are making a real impact!

Democratic Republic of Congo
In the spring of 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo experienced a resurgence of violence that forced 13 million people to flee their homes and livelihoods. In March 2018, ARDF gave money to the Diocese of Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to assist the church in reaching out to those who have been forced to flee their homes and their fields due to renewed violence in the region. This allowed the church to give food and clothing to 284 IDPs (Internally Displaced People). 

On Good Friday, Archbishop Foley Beach (of the Anglican Church in North America), called for North Americans to remember the suffering of our brothers and sisters in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many of you responded for which the church is grateful.

Please pray for us and advocate for us in order to return safely home. Thank you for helping us. God bless you. – Reverend Ekyemba, Fizi, DRC

Ongoing Efforts in Florida
After Hurricane Irma, IrmaRelief.faith was founded as a way to connect volunteers with those needing assistance. Seeing the need for a broader vision, IrmaRelief has grown into Anglican Disaster Preparedness and Relief (ADPR). Rev. Ric Sterry Smith, Disaster Relief Coordinator for the Diocese of the Gulf Atlantic, liaises with ADPR and reports they are working on two reconstruction projects in Miami. By the time they are done, they will have distributed another 200-300 Care Bags. 

It may come as a surprize that Care Bags are still needed! But they are. Fortunately, volunteers continue to come to Florida. This summer, four teams are coming, representing Anglicans from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Diocese of South Carolina, and the Diocese of the Gulf Atlantic.

As they prepare for the 2018 Hurricane Season, Ric says, “We have certainly learned Disaster Relief is not easy, nor a short term process, though it is quite fulfilling to see so many lives touched by the Gospel and witness many souls saved through this ministry!”

If you are interested in joining the effort in Florida, visit http://www.adpr.faith/.

Ongoing Efforts in Puerto Rico
Meanwhile, our faithful partners in Puerto Rico have continued the long, hard work of recovery for victims of Hurricane Maria.

Water Mission has now assisted over 40 communities to restore clean water to the people of Puerto Rico. But even more exciting, they have completed nine solar powered installations, with a dozen more expected to come online before the end of the summer.

 After deciding to install solar, the Montellanos community built the infrastructure  to mount the panels directly on top of the water tank for the town, demonstrating committed ownership of the project.

After deciding to install solar, the Montellanos community built the infrastructure  to mount the panels directly on top of the water tank for the town, demonstrating committed ownership of the project.

Solar is important, because according to Mark Baker, Director of Disaster Response, solar powered installations help “communities control their own destiny.” With solar, communities are not reliant on the national power grid. When a storm is coming, they can disassemble the solar panels relatively easily for safe keeping, then reassemble after the storm so that clean water is restored right away. Access to clean water prevents many of the diseases that follow in the wake of a natural disaster, such as dysentery and cholera. 

Communities do not undertake these projects lightly. They must vote to accept the responsibility of caring for the system and to accept additional tarifs that will provide for future maintenance and repairs. 

Because of this community ownership, Baker has seen true partnerships arise out of these projects. He knows that these installations will be cared for and  “will be around for their children and their children’s children.” As more communities come online, others see the impact and consider embracing these solar installations.

As long as there are opportunities to bring solar to these communities, Water Mission will remain in Puerto Rico.

Did you know that in times of emergency, undesignated donations to ARDF are used for relief events?

You can help us prepare for the future by donating here
Pledging a monthly gift enables us to remain prepared as we enter future hurricane seasons.

 

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