Over the last 10 years we have seen a growing number of disasters and emergencies occurring across the globe, irrespective of wealth, status, geographical position, religious background or political views. Response and coping mechanisms vary in speed, capacity and expertise but one thing is universally clear, it is the poor and oppressed that will be the most affected, not only in the immediate stages of the disaster but well into the recovery phases.
Responding to emergencies is the responsibility of all Christians, as the first on the scene of any disaster is one's neighbour and it is often their (our) actions in the first hours that can save lives, comfort and encourage the shocked community. However there are emergencies where widespread damage, serious loss of lives and materials, casualties and environmental damage is such that the response capacity of the community and even the local authority and civil service exceeds their ability to cope. It is in these cases that good strong coordination and cooperation will be essential to ensure the loss of life and damage to resources will be kept to minimum. Coupled to this a united response in supporting recovery and rehabilitation will underpin a quick return to normal life.
Micah Network members are now found in over 80 countries of the world. They are strategically placed to be a key contributor in emergency response and disaster management. By sharing a common commitment to Disaster Management, following agreed good practices and where possible cooperating in their response they will be able to demonstrate an amazing integral mission approach to affected communities, demonstrating God's love for the broken hearted, being a witness to that love and thus having the opportunity to declare it.
This Disaster Management (DM) project is therefore an essential initiative in Micah Network to research, prepare, train and support our commitment to strengthening good practices and sharing a common commitment in our responses wherever our members are. Micah Network members are committed to integral mission, and this includes working alongside local communities and churches to ensure the relationship and capacity is there to foster a united response.
Purpose of the DM Project
Primarily to build the local capacity of members, (local congregations, aid agencies, mission organisations, academic institutes, alliances and individuals), to respond in an integral mission approach to emergencies. This includes:
- Considering disasters, suffering and our responsibilities through the lens of integral mission
- Developing a supportive theological paper to help guide our biblical understanding and strengthen our faith
- Exploring disaster risk reduction approaches
- Establishing mechanisms to coordinate and respond
- Strengthening capacity
- Coordination and sharing of resources
- Cooperation in advocacy initiatives, especially with regard to disaster risk reduction and protection
- The sharing of testimony, learning, impact, good practice and quality standards.
Micah Network has taken on a consultant to help guide us through the first phase of the project. The consultants name is Adriaan Korevaar, who brings years of experience in relief work.
Phase One: Baseline analysis and project design
Over the next 3 months Adriaan will contact members to take part in this consultation so as to develop and plan on how best to proceed together. Please can I invite you to respond and participate in a timely manner so as to ensure we have gathered the shared experience and wisdom of us all?
The plan for phase one is:
Objective One: Establish a baseline of existing interest and capacity amongst members. This includes understanding of their biblical perspective of disaster, suffering and advocacy, as well as their capacity to deliver good practices.
Objective Two: Establish a baseline of the extent to which members have been involved in disasters and advocacy. In particular explore the extent that local congregations have or would have liked to more actively engage in disaster management.
Objective Three: Map key hazards members need to deal with.
Objective Four: Outline what capacity building interventions should be provided.
Objective Five: Design a project implementation plan (based on the DM proposal and baseline findings).
We will keep you posted on how this evolves. Looking forward to hearing from you all.
Adriaan Korevaar's e-mail: [email protected]
Note: Adriaan speaks English, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, French and German – so here’s a chance for everyone to interact directly.