ELCA adds $1 million to Typhoon Haiyan aid

6/9/2014 10:00:00 AM

            CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) provided a second contribution of $1 million to Lutheran World Relief to support the next phases of disaster response work in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan struck there this past fall.
            Since the storm, Lutherans have been working to sustain lives and protect vulnerable populations in the Philippines by providing shelter materials, debris removal, cooking supplies and more. The ELCA's recent contribution is allocated for the restoration of livelihoods there. Shortly after the typhoon struck Nov. 8, the ELCA provided an initial $1 million to Lutheran World Relief to support emergency relief efforts through cash-for-work programs, food distribution, shelter and more. The funds were disbursed through this church's Lutheran Disaster Response.
            "'Touching people's lives for the flourishing of human community' is the moral imperative that shapes ELCA's global relief and development work," said the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director for ELCA Global Mission.
            "We are deeply committed to (positively) impacting the lives of people and communities. The additional gift of $1 million will assist Lutheran World Relief in concentrating its efforts to supporting and developing livelihood opportunities for people in the fishing industry, seaweed farming and in other areas. Through Lutheran World Relief, the ELCA is deepening and extending its reach in touching people's lives," he said.
            "The ELCA is deeply committed to participating in the development of economic life in the Philippines and around the world," said Malpica Padilla. "This participation is patterned after the moral axiom of 'sustainable, sufficient, livelihood for all.' The joint venture with Lutheran World Relief in the Philippines embodies this axiom and points to the rich and long relationship among us and the strong support by the ELCA of Lutheran World Relief's programmatic work."
            As one of the strongest storms in recorded history, Typhoon Haiyan affected more than 14 million people and destroyed about 1 million homes. More than 6,200 people were reported dead as a result of the storm and, six months later, more than 1,000 people still remain missing.
           "In a disaster of this magnitude, we know that the response and recovery effort is not a matter of weeks or months, but years," said Jeff Whisenant, Lutheran World Relief's interim president and CEO.
           "We appreciate the confidence that the ELCA's $2 million investment in LWR's programming demonstrates in our work with partners, supporters and technical assistance providers in the Philippines and around the world to strengthen communities to achieve lasting results. With profound gratitude, we thank our partner the ELCA for recognizing the ongoing need and providing additional resources to allow us to reach even more people," said Whisenant.
           The ELCA and Lutheran World Relief's recovery efforts are performed in cooperation with a network of organizations including the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and other ecumenical partners engaged in relief and development work.
           According to Carl Stecker, director for Diakonia, ELCA Global Mission, "Lutheran World Relief's presence in the Philippines even before the time of the typhoon made it possible for Lutheran Disaster Response to quickly extend the help of the people of the ELCA to the people of the Philippines.
          "We know that the decision to provide an additional million dollars to Lutheran World Relief at this time will ensure that thousands receive livelihoods assistance during the next two years to help get them back on their feet; it also shows the depth of confidence and partnership that exists between the ELCA and Lutheran World Relief," he said.
          "It is always amazing to me to see the extraordinary level of giving that happens by Lutherans when natural disasters strike in the world. Whether disasters happen suddenly or whether they are the result of civil strife or war, our response as Lutherans should be the same -- an outpouring of compassion for those impacted by these terrible situations and an outpouring of assistance for those displaced, homeless, bereft, hungry and insecure. We respond. It is a privilege to be part of the response by directing our support to LWR in these kinds of situations," said Stecker.

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4  million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.

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