Staying Strong Together Against Natural Disasters

If you were to Google Year 2018 disasters, you will find some of the world’s worst disasters happening in Asia. The UN warns the cost of natural disaster destruction by 2030 could go up to $160 billion dollars each year in the Asia Pacific. That is absolutely alarming.

Are we ready? Natural disasters are most unpredictable and it is extremely vicious. If you will remember, beginning February 2018 we were met by an earthquake in Hualien, Taiwan in the wee hours. This was followed by many more disasters. Drought in Australia, typhoon in the Philippines, floods in Kerala, landslides in Japan, tsunami in Indonesia and so on. 2018 was not a year to sit lazily and let the year go by. The call for APBF to be united and stand beside the Asia Pacific family was more than APBF had expected. APBF went to action immediately.

APBAid Director Rev. Kabi Gangmei and Assistant Director Ms. Feraz Legita has reported how communities have been affect-ed by the devastation. Through all these, the APBF’s aid arm ‘APBAid’ relentlessly worked, assisting under difficult conditions, but focused to bring relief and support to those in need. Many conventions across the  Asia-Pacific, gave compassionately. Partners like Transform Aid International (TAI), the aid arm of Baptist World Aid Australia), British Mission Society, BFAD of BWA and many more acted quickly.

Aftermath of typhoon Tembin in southern Philippines, APBAid with the support from TAI (US$15,000) and BMS ($11,858.69) the General Baptist Church of the Philippines (GBCP) helped 150 families with relief goods and shelter materials.

APBAid assisted the project from Malaysia Baptist Convention (MBC) with $12,000, Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) with  $12,495, German Baptist Union (GBC) with $10,000. The IM-ABC also chipped for the project through CPBC with $5,000. The Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) provided assistance to 122 families in Iloilo and 98 families in Capiz in recovery of their farmlands destroyed by floods.

For the livelihood project, TAI lent its assistance to Central Philippines Convention of Southern Baptist Churches (CPCSBC) to 100 families affected by typhoon Kaitak with a grant of $18,412.

Separately, Luzon Convention of Southern Baptist Churches (LCSBC) responded after-math of Typhoon Mongkut with shelter recovery project supported by TAI with a grant of $40,000, BMS with $20,358.85 and IM-ABC with $10,000. The project provided permanent housing to 50 families in prov-ince of Cagayan.

A partnership with CREST Malaysia was started with a support for a year’s coopera-tion in the Philippines - with the support to CPBC in the post Haiyan livelihood rehabilitation with a grant of US $13,000. It soon developed into a project of livelihood assistance to 50 families in the 3 villages in North Iloilo and Aklan. APBAid conducted DRR program with their support. CREST Malaysia is happy with APBAid partnership and follow up with support that will be undertaken with CPBC and CPCSBC for 2019 onwards, focusing on the poor families impacted by disasters.

March 2018, Cyclone Hola passed over Vanuatu and caused major damages to the food gardens. TAI supported Baptist Churches Vanuatu with a grant of $5,393. The project provided rice for the 53 families in Malo, Santo and Malekula and chain saw to Maskylen Baptist Church in Malekula Island which was used for clearing fallen trees.

As August approached, Indonesia was hit by three major disasters. APBAid did its best to respond to the need with our Baptist breth-ren there. The global Baptist partners react-ed swiftly. Rebana Indonesia together with Baptist forum for Aid and Development  (BFAD) coordinated the response: 

(i) Earthquake struck Lombok in August 2018. BWAid responded with a grant of
$10,000, Malaysian Baptist Convention -$5,000, Fiji Baptist Convention - $9,330, Hongkong Baptist Convention with $18,579, and other contributions from Straits Baptist Church, Malaysia, Singapore Baptist Convention, and Evangelical Baptist Convention of Manipur, Elon318 Community Church in Okinawa has resulted in bringing hope to those affected.

(ii) Earthquake-tsunami struck Sulawesi in October 2018. Relief responses arrived with grants of $18,579 from Hongkong Baptist Convention; $20,022 from Singapore Baptist Convention; and AU $1,161 from Japan Baptist Womens Union.

(iii) Mt. Krakatoa eruption and tsunami in Sunda Strait caused over 420 lives lost and estimated 40,000 people displaced. Rebana and TAI with strong support from BFAD continues to lead the relief response to the need in the affected area.

APBAid Director, Rev. Kabi Gangmei also reports that in June 2018 flash floods and landslides struck villages in Mizoram, espe-cially Tlabung area of SW Mizoram affecting a total of 1030 poor families belonging to minority communities of Chakma, Bru, Pang and Bawm were affected. With the support of TAI and EBM-GBU, APBAid worked with Baptist Church of Mizoram and a total of 240 families were helped to recover their normal livelihood. Following the relief response a series of 4 Disaster Rapid Response programs were organized in South Mizoram to cover 256 village leaders.

Again in the month of August the State of Kerala in South India was struck with the worst floods of 100 years, resulting into 483+ lives lost and 300,000 farmers affect-ed. APBAid responded with $19,958 and TAI $10,000. Emmanuel Hospital Association has been assisting to give reliefs and medical care to 1000 families.

Many might have forgotten of the great earthquake in Nepal in 2015. APBAid has not. The reconstruction work in Nepal continues.

(i) APBAid continues the reconstruction work with Nepal Baptist Church Council, and completed 5 church buildings at Barkhe, Nun, Dingla, Dhaireni and Guranshe with the cost of $78,933. Further anoth-er 6 churches were helped with building materials with the costs of $22,224 and completed them. They were Baptist church-es at Sautha, Naya, Namuna Baguwa, Aradhana and Panbari. The project was supported by Hong Kong Baptist Convention.

(ii) A Community Support & Livelihood Development project at Jaisithok, Mid-Nepal costing $115,553 with the sup-port from JBC and HKBC was completed it course with the terminal evaluation on. The community development project aims to input livelihood skills, assistance to school children and WASH schemes with the affect-ed community.

The family of APBF is across 22 countries. Whenever disaster strikes, the APBF family through APBAid goes into action. APBF is thankful that support from conventions and partners reaches out to communities affect-ed. APBF is thankful to each supporter. While some supporters/partners may not have been listed due to late arrival of funds or still arriving, APBF is mindful and thank-ful for the love and care you have shown through your giving. The love of God is spread and shared to people as assistance and recovery becomes the priority of APBAid. Your contribution is what makes APBF strong.