Recovering with the Haitians after the Hurricane

Ever since Haiti experienced the hurricane in October last year, CEDAR has partnered with the fellow members of the Integral Alliance (IA) including Food for the Hungry, Medair, MTI, and World Concern Haiti, and supported their humanitarian efforts in getting the disaster-stricken Haitians back on track.

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The Relief Work of Ecuador Marching to the Second Stage

Pastor Julio Martinez distributing supplies and aids.

In the past April, Ecuador was struck by 7.8 and 6 magnitude earthquakes, leading to high death tolls and the urgent need for emergency shelters. The local reconstruction work has continued without cease since the earthquake, yet it takes time to have the situation resumed to what it was before the disaster.

CEDAR’s partner Peace and Hope, together with Tearfund UK, a fellow member institution of Integral Alliance (IA*) joined the relief work after the earthquake. After visiting the quake-affected regions to better assess the needs of the victims, they then distributed food and water to remedy victims’ pressing needs. The first stage of relief work has been completed earlier, let’s hear from the quake-affected victims’ sharing. Bahia de Caraquez, where Luciana, Theofanis and Susana live, was one of the severely hit regions. They lost all they have in the earthquake, yet with a grateful heart, they hope to share the grace and the peace they received by cooking and distributing food packs to others Being a part of the Missionary Alliance Church, they hope other people can receive more than only the tangible packs but also the love and care in them.

Every evening, the three ladies helped the relief organization – Peace and Hope, and Tearfund to distribute food packs to victims. Their church building was also badly damaged in the quake,  however, this never stops it from being the hub for collection and distribution of food, water and power supply.

On top of that, Pastor Julio Martinez, from Christian and Missionary Alliance Church of Portoviejo, Manabi in Ecuador, also contributed his effort to the post-quake relief work. The quake wreaked havoc across his city and over 40% of it was destroyed. The churches and families are facing harsh challenges and difficulties, yet they stay in solidarity to help people in need.

Martinez has been reflecting on the same question over and over again, “Why did God allow the earthquake to happen?” Instead of receiving a direct answer to his question, he realized this is the chance for church to be mobilized and to act. He takes the lead to act – never does he view himself, a pastor, as too superior to conduct relief work with other people. Collaborating with villages nearby, Martinez sent ambulance teams and supplies such as water filters, food and hygiene kits to victims.

As the first stage comes to an end, the second stage tightly follows. We are grateful for your support which allows us to be a part of the relief work. Our partners are striving hard to achieve the following to enhance the resilience of both the victims and communities as a whole:

  • To set up psycho-educational groups for children and adolescents focusing on post-traumatic stress, including the threat of sexual violence;
  • To provide workshops on entrepreneurial strategies and self-employment skills, especially for female-headed families, to rebuild their livelihoods; To train leaders of shelters to establish and enforce Child Protection Policy so as to ensure the children in the shelters are under appropriate protection;
  • To help ten churches and ten communities to develop disaster response plans, in order to improve their ability to respond to disasters.

Please continue to pray for Ecuador:

  • For the local relief and reconstruction work. Pray that victims and the communities can resume to normal lives as soon as possible;
  • For the strengthening of the faith of local Christians that they can wholeheartedly rely on God and follow His will even in times of crisis;
  • For Christians and Christian organizations across the globe to have unity in Christ and to watch over one another.

*Integral Alliance is a global alliance of 23 Christian relief and development agencies, working together to present a more effective response to poverty worldwide.

Iraq Crisis Appeal: Join Hands to Bring Hope to Iraq Displaced People

Since the start of 2014 more than 1.4 million Iraqis have left their homes because of fighting. Some 850,000 people, more than half of the total number, have been made homeless in the last two months. In parts of Iraq minority groups, like Yazidis and Christians, are under threat of forced conversion, fines and even death.

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May Love and Peace with Iraq

Samira Said, 27, fled Tikrit with her 20-day old baby for an agricultural shelter area next to the Baharka camp 5km north of Erbil, the capital of the northern semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq, after the militant group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) took control of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul.

Our hearts are breaking at the atrocities taking place in Iraq. In the last two months a staggering 850,000 people have fled their homes in terror as Islamic State (IS) fighters have swept across the north of the country. An estimated 10,000 people have lost their lives, most of whom are civilians.

Religious and ethnic minority groups, such as Yazidis (a Kurdish-speaking ethno-religious group), Christians and Turkmen, have been particularly targeted, and many have been subjected to unspeakable brutalities. It’s estimated that one-fourth of Iraq’s Christians have now fled, threatened by IS at best with fines, at worst with forced conversion or death.

Thousands of Iraqis, mainly from the Yazidi community, are currently trapped on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq by IS fighters after facing similar threats. They are in desperate need of food, water and medical care, and symbolise the plight of so many more Iraqis who are the innocent victims of this crisis.

Between January to July 2014, an estimation of 1.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) were seeking shelter in Northern Iraq. They are now suffering from significant secondary displacement due to fierce fightings near IDP locations in Ninewa and Dahuk Provinces. In addition to the current IDP crisis, the government of Kurdistan is also hosting 230,000 refugees from Syria.

Since 2012, Integral Alliance (IA), a global alliance comprising of 19 Christian relief and development agencies, has been providing relief materials, food parcel, medical care and psychosocial care to Syrian refugees. CEDAR is one of the member agencies of Integral Alliance. A member agency of IA is now forming a working team, going to Northern Iraq to assess the situation particularly the need of the suffered communities.

We know that God is a God of love, compassion, power and justice, who is ‘mighty to save’ (Isaiah 63:1). As we struggle to find words to respond in the face of such horror, remember Paul’s words in Romans: ‘We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.’ (Romans 8:26).  [Tearfund, Integral Alliance]

Pray for the suffering Iraq people:

  • Ask God to stop the hand of those set on violence, bloodshed and intimidation in Iraq. Pray for the establishment of a lasting peace that all people groups will be accepted and protected.
  • Pray for all those who have fled their homes and are living in fear and uncertainty.
  • Ask God to keep them safe, provide for their needs and pour out his comfort and healing on all who are grieving.
  • Thank God that thousands of Yazidis were able to escape from Mount Sinjar during last weekend, aided by Kurdish forces, and pray for protection, provision and a rapid rescue for those who remain.
  • Lift up leaders in Iraq and around the world, praying that God will give them wisdom as they seek a solution to the crisis.

Integral Alliance

[Annual Report 2011-2012] Networking

Haiti Earthquake

Review of 2011 to 2012

In past ten years, different Christian relief and development organisations around the world started to build up the network among them in order to respond to the increasing disasters and poverty issues more effectively. Under this context Integral Alliance (IA) was formed. In 2011, IA has had a three-year strategic working plan from 2012 to 2015, to provide quicker and proper relief response and post-disaster rehabilitation to any disaster around world through improving the communication system and setting up the relief operating guidelines among alliance’s member agencies.

In May 2012, IA updated the communication systems. Member agencies can now get more updated information and give response to different disasters through the internet platform. In June 2012, member agencies for first time used the new internet platform and communication system to discuss and coordinate the humanitarian relief on Sudan’s conflict.

18 global Christian relief and development organisations join Integral Alliance

Jackson’s Sharing

‘The official launch of the Integral Alliance Disaster Response in May 2012 set a new milestone of a joint international effort among 18 international Christian relief and development agencies of Integral Alliance.  The new process coordinates and facilitates members to quickly disseminate the latest information about disasters and proposals of relief operations to other members for speedy and well-coordinated responses, maximizing resources and minimizing on redundancy. With different specialties and geographical focus, the process secures prayer and tangible assistance from members and their network which may not have the information or channels to do so. This partnership and servant heart among member agencies make Integral Alliance something special.  It is more than being merely functional. There is a spiritual bond and a sense of fellowship that attests to the reality of Emmanuel—God with us.’