ADRA Aids Hurricane Beta Survivors in Colombia
oon after Hurricane Beta hit the tiny Colombian island of Providencia on October 28, ripping the roofs off thousands of homes and shutting down the airport and all communication, the Adventist Church and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) moved in to offer aid. According to Colombia government officials, the storm damaged 90 percent of the islands wooden structures and homes.
Alejandro Veloza, president of the church in the Colombian Islands Mission, reported that two Adventist churches and many church members homes in the region suffered extensive damage, but has heard of no injuries to members. Veloza contacted Gabriel Villarreal, director of ADRA/Colombia, for assistance, and local mission and division funds were made available immediately to purchase supplies.
|Students from the Adventist school in San Andres unload relief supplies aboard one of Colombias Naval ships in Providencia. [photo credit: Wally Amundson]:< FONT>|
The most needed supplies were food, mattresses, and bed sheets, said Villarreal. Peoples homes were torn apart and flooded. The Colombian Military Forces was requested to transport the relief supplies through a vessel to the shutdown island, he added.
Inter-America ADRA director Wally Amundson, who traveled with Villarreal to Providencia just days after the storm, met with local leaders to organize a church and community response.
Providencia is a small island located in the Caribbean southwest of Colombia, and has a population of 5,000 people. About 160 Adventists worship in two churches in that region. --Inter-American Division/AR.
Contributions totaling $2 million have been given by donors to Adventist Community Services (ACS) Disaster Response to aid survivors and help with reconstruction costs following Hurricane Katrina on August 29 and Hurricane Rita on September 24. To provide long-term aid for the hurricane evacuees, the funds have been designated for the Community Rebuilding Project and will be allocated by ACS partners who are working throughout the Gulf Coast states.
ACS Disaster Response Raises $2 Million for Hurricane Relief
The Community Rebuilding Project is designed to assist community members and Adventist churches that suffered extensive hurricane damage and need to rebuild, but are unable to because of a lack of financial resources and insurance coverage. The scope of the redevelopment will include reconstruction of the churches and their immediate surrounding areas. The project will target affected areas in Louisiana, including six communities in New Orleans, as well as regions in Groves, Texas, and Lumberton and Waveland, Mississippi.
ACS Disaster Response leaders are continuing to raise additional funds to reach the projects financial goal of $3 million. They estimate that it will take at least two years to complete the Community Rebuilding Project and to meet the evacuees ongoing need for emergency supplies.
With commitment to long-term recovery efforts, ACS Disaster Response volunteers continue to manage eight warehouses and 15 donation distribution centers where food, water, ice, personal-care kits, cleaning supplies, and other necessary items are available to the survivors. Currently, ACS volunteers have managed about $40 million worth of goods through the eight multiagency warehouses at an approximate cost of $200,000.
For every dollar ACS has spent for expenses, our volunteers have delivered $200 of products to the survivors, said Joe Watts, National ACS Disaster Response director.
To make a donation, call 1-877-ACS-2702, or go to www.communityservices.org.
--Adventist Community Services Communication Department/AR.
Pacific Union Conference Elects Three New Officers
On November 17, the Pacific Union Conference (PUC) Executive Committee elected three new officers. Ted Benson, PUC undertreasurer,waselected treasurer,replacing Leon Sanders, who is retiring. Ricardo Graham, president of the Northern California Conference, waselectedexecutive secretary, replacing Ernest Castillo, who was elected a vice president of the North American Division. And Arnold Trujillo, president of the Hawaii Conference, was elected vice president, replacing Wayne Shepherd, who has retired.
According to PUC president Tomas Mostert, thisisthe first time in the history of the union that threeofficersareformer conference presidents. --Pacific Union Conference Communication Department/AR.