소식 & 이벤트
  Natural Disasters — Losing Everything but Hope
 작성자 : KAFHI
작성일 : 2015-07-14     조회 : 4,508  

(by David Curtis on JULY 14, 2015 in WORLD POVERTY)

Very few of us can relate to the trauma of losing everything due to a disaster. I know I can’t. The combination of mourning what was lost, and aching about the uncertain future is enough to lose all hope. In my eight years working with Food for the Hungry (FH), I’ve visited many different disaster zones and met hundreds of people fervently trying to rebuild their life after a cataclysmic event. Their stories are all different, but the path forward seems to include some consistent ingredients for hope.

I recently returned from a trip to the Samar Region of the Philippines. On November 8, 2013 the strongest recorded typhoon (hurricane) in history made landfall near the city of Tacloban. This fishing and farming community did have warning and some evacuation measures were followed, a success story in its own right. However, there was no preparing for the massive destruction the storm would wreak upon the region. Houses and businesses were swept away by wind and storm surges. Livelihoods were lost. Dreams broken.

This is a common story when it comes to many natural disasters, isn’t it? One that seems to be told a couple times a year about both far away and nearby places.

Since its inception in 1971, FH has ALWAYS been a disaster response organization. And through almost 45 years of responding to the cries of those impacted by natural and human disasters, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to walk with people in their despair.

During my visit to Samar, it was apparent what two major components needed to be addressed so families and communities could move towards a hopeful future. And those components are core to who we are as an organization.

Physical Rehabilitation

What happens to a community after the initial wave of compassion and aid subsides? Sometimes, not much. This is a common issue that occurs after the emergency responders finish their urgent business and public attention moves on. And this is where FH thrives. It’s at this point that families and communities are left to figure out how to rebuild their lives. In Samar, I saw a couple examples of how physical rehabilitation occurs through the building of relationships.

One example was a Savings Group that had begun to meet about six months after the typhoon. With no injection of capital by FH, our staff trained this group of 13 community leaders (mostly women!) how to save incrementally and develop a system for providing small loans so members could restart their former means of income, or begin a new business. Another example included FH working with a local Pedicab association (see photo). By helping this association organize and build bonds of trust, within a few months they were able to pool their resources to fund a shared garage where they could keep parts and fix their cabs. These are just two of the many creative ways FH seeks to understand the local community, and walk with families to begin the long, steady process towards physically rebuilding their lives.

But as I said before, there are two components needed for a healthy recovery after a disaster.

Spiritual Hope

Having been to many different types of disaster zones, on three different continents, I’ve been a sort of student of answering the question, “how do communities best move forward following a major disaster?” And while sound programs, efficient use of resources, and helpful trainings are all part of what seems to be a winning antidote for post-disaster thriving, there is something at the core of a community’s ability to bounce back that is very intangible — worldview.

The importance of spiritual rehabilitation is undeniable in Samar, Philippines. The hope and joy of a future where children will thrive again is palpable. The can-do attitude of a people who lost their means of earning a wage is startling. The confidence that their community will come back stronger than ever is inspiring.

You can not always impart this type of hope-filled, resilient, ‘God-is-with-us’ worldview on people suffering from untold maladies. But one thing visiting Samar taught me is that it is imperative that we try.

When we were leaving, our friends in one of the villages gifted us with a wristband that says, “I am STRONGER than 11/08/2013.”

For me that sums up the goal for every disaster response — that it may be an opportunity for God to use the power of relationships to bring about transformation in the most vulnerable places on the planet.

Will you join us in that transformation as we continue responding to disaster relief efforts?

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