Chinnor Community Church, High Street, Chinnor, OX39 4DH

Tearfund December Update


Remembering the Philippines after the Typhoon

Two years ago, the Philippines was battered by a mighty typhoon that left more than 6,500 people dead. It was one of the strongest ever, tropical storms, to buffet the islands and 11 million people were affected by high winds, torrential driving rain and extensive flooding. In the months since, Tearfund has been working to help thousands of Filipinos get back on their feet after many suffered the loss of houses and livelihoods. Tearfund and our partners have helped more than 365,000 people – and much of that is due to the faithful prayers and amazing generosity of Tearfund supporters. Alisha, 63, was among those who lost a home, but Tearfund has built a new property, which will be stronger and better able to withstand future storms.

‘I am happy with the new home and happy to have a latrine too,’ said Alisha. ‘I feel comfortable that it has strong foundations.’

Many Filipinos living on low incomes saw their small farming and livestock businesses wiped out by Haiyan. Anna was given a cash grant so she could buy new livestock. The 52-year-old bought two pigs, which she is now breeding so she can make money selling the piglets. ‘Thank you for the blessing,’ was her message to Tearfund supporters who donated to our Philippines emergency appeal.

As well as practical help, Tearfund and our partners have been training Filipino communities so they are better prepared for when the next tropical storm or disaster strikes. For example, in Punta Cogon, where Haiyan destroyed nearly 300 homes, residents took part in typhoon drills after being trained in evacuation procedures and how to deal with injured people.

Please pray:

  • Please pray for the continuing recovery of the people of the Philippines and that God will heal their land.
  • For families whose homes have been damaged or destroyed. Pray that God will enable them to find shelter and the resources and support to cope in the next few months and begin to rebuild and recover as quickly as possible.
  • Give thanks for the help that has been provided which is enabling survivors to get back on their feet and to regain hope.
  • Pray that the forthcoming typhoon season will not bring serious destruction and loss of life.

Helping fruit growers discover a new zest for life

The acerola fruit is small and cherry-like, bursting with vitamin C and grows widely across Latin America. In north-east Brazil, it provides an invaluable source of cash for people on low incomes in under-developed remote rural communities. But growers often have to throw away excess acerolas because they’re unable to get them to distant markets before they spoil. Staff from Tearfund partner Diaconia are helping overcome this needless waste by providing equipment so growers can process the fruit into juice, as well as freezers to preserve it until they can get it to market.

One of the women involved in the scheme, Gilda Taniani, said. ‘The project has made a huge difference for us. ‘It is one of the best things that has happened in my life. It has given us an incentive to produce our own crops.’

Fourteen women are involved in acerola production in Gilda’s village and the sale of the fruit juice has been organised by Diaconia, which linked the farmers with a government-run programme that buys produce for distribution in schools. Adiuso, another woman involved in the scheme, said, ‘Our dream is to expand and build a big unit that will give many other women the opportunity to produce juice.’ It’s not just the women who are benefiting, according to Serguem Silva, Tearfund’s Country Representative for Brazil, who highlighted the benefits of the fruit juice for the schoolchildren: ‘Acerola fruit contains the equivalent of 50 lemons’ worth of vitamin C,’ he said.,

Please pray:

  • Praise God for the ‘huge difference’ Diaconia’s help is making to poor communities.
  • Pray that the new equipment will enable the women to make the best of their potential as fruit growers and benefit their families’ standard of living.

Major food crisis looming for Ethiopia

The worst drought in decades has left millions of Ethiopians facing months of severe hunger and hardship. Poor rains in the spring led to crop failures, which have affected six regions and left 8 million people without enough food. The arrival of El Niño weather conditions has worsened the situation and it’s feared that over the coming months 15 million people could be dragged into the crisis. ‘The humanitarian situation is getting worse and predictions are not good,’ said Donald Mavunduse, Tearfund’s Head of East and Southern Africa region. ‘Families have seen their harvests slump which will leave them very vulnerable well into next year.’

The level of need among Ethiopians has already exceeded that created by the 2011 food crisis across the Horn of Africa, and although the Ethiopian government is responding, it has called for international funding to support its efforts. Evidence why help is needed is growing. In September, the number of children under five being treated for severe acute malnutrition was 20 per cent higher than the same month in any other year. In some areas, drought is killing livestock, and forcing women and children to walk up to 20 miles daily to find water. Tearfund is working with Ethiopian church-based partners to respond to the crisis and continuing to support more than a million Ethiopians through our self-help group (SHG) programme. SHGs help people improve their livelihoods and build up savings so they are better able to withstand climatic shocks. Tearfund is supporting 13,000 SHGs in Ethiopia; these are enabling people to diversify incomes and pool resources to help those in need.

Please pray:

  • Please pray for swift and effective international support to help Ethiopia respond to this food crisis.
  • Pray that the impact of El Niño is minimal over the coming months so future crops are not adversely affected.
  • Pray for wisdom for Tearfund partners as they seek to reach the most vulnerable.

The small room that’s a big talking point

It’s an unlikely attraction but ever since Angelina Akutcha, 23, became the first person in her village to have a latrine, the neighbours have been flocking to check it out. Hearing the difference the toilet and accompanying hygiene training from Tearfund has made to her life in Aweil East, South Sudan, has provoked a flurry of interest. Not only do the fields no longer have to be used as a loo, but the family’s health has improved too, with no cases of diarrhoea. Now the neighbours are excited about benefiting from Tearfund training and learning how to build their own latrines.

Thursday 19th November is World Toilet Day when we’re reminded that access to proper sanitation remains beyond the grasp of 2.4 billion people worldwide.

Please pray:

  • Please pray for those suffering with poor health because they don’t have access to a decent loo.
  • Pray for Tearfund’s work to help more people like Angelina improve their sanitation, hygiene and health.

John GravettTearfund Representative

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