Ga-flooded-aerial-view Over
the last week, typhoons, floodings, earthquakes and tsunamis have severely impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in
several countries within Asia, the Pacific region and here in the
United States. Especially affected have been the countries of
Indonesia, the Philippines and both the Independent State of Samoa,
American Samoa and the southeastern United States. Your generous gifts
have made it possible for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) to respond to these disasters.

PDA
is working with our local presbyteries and global mission and
ecumenical partners in the affected countries to providing a ministry
of presence, relief and preparation for long-term recovery. Give to help survivors, join the the PDA Rapid Information Network to stay informed and pray for people affected by disaster.

Below is a letter from myself, Linda Valentine, GAMC Executive Director and Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk.  Please consider sharing this with your communities.

Bruce Reyes-Chow Line

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Anytime
a disaster hits, whether it leaves a home burned, a community flooded
or an entire island flattened, full recovery is a long-term process. 
We ask you now for churchwide call to prayer for all those affected by
disasters, especially for those who — in just the past two weeks — have
experienced flooding in the southeastern United States, a typhoon in
the Philippines, earthquakes in Indonesia or earthquakes compounded by
a tsunami in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, using funds from the One Great Hour of Sharing
offering, has already begun to respond, either directly to the
presbyteries here in the United States or through our mission partners
around the world.

This
week alone two earthquakes rocked areas of Indonesia.  In West Sumatra,
more than 10,000 homes and businesses have been affected and 1,000
lives lost, with this count expected to rise. PDA has been in contact
with our PC(USA) mission co-worker in Indonesia, Rebecca Young. Becca
works with the Jakarta Theological Seminary and is also a PDA liaison
for disaster situations that strike the region. PDA is also working
with our partners Yayasan Tanggul Bencana di Indonesia, Yakkumm
Emergency Unit, Church World Service and Action by Churches Together
(ACT). Once assessments of the damage are reported, we will have a
better understanding of the funding needed for long-term recovery.

Typhoon
Ketsana [locally known as Ondoy] hit the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam just days ago, with
the Philippines being the worst affected. Mandatory evacuations have
been issued, as a second typhoon is expected in a matter of days. 
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance will be supporting relief efforts
through our mission partners, the United Church of Christ in the
Philippines and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines,
and through a broader appeal by ACT.

A
tsunami triggered by a massive earthquake has devastated Samoa,
American Samoa and Tonga. More than 32,000 people are displaced, with
the death toll rising daily. PDA has been in communication with CWS,
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and the U.S.
Federal Emergency Management Agency as it relates to American Samoa.
Once assessments begin to be reported, PDA will be ready to respond
with funding.

And
let us remember our brothers and sisters here in the Southeast that
experienced massive flooding last week.  PDA is responding to needs in
three  presbyteries — Cherokee, Greater Atlanta and Northeast Georgia. 
Six PDA National Response Team members responded, and five are still on
the ground assessing the damage and assisting with response
coordination. Twelve churches in Greater Atlanta Presbytery have
requested assistance.  PDA has responded by sending $40,000: $10,000 to
support the initial response by the presbytery for needs in the
community and $30,000 as a fund for the presbytery to use in support of
the 12 effected churches.  In addition, $10,000 has been sent to
Cherokee Presbytery to help with immediate relief and $10,000 is being
sent to Northeast Georgia Presbytery.  All of these funds have come
from the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.  We take this opportunity
to thank you for those gifts.  PDA will continue to be in communication
with these presbyteries and is prepared to respond to further requests.

We
encourage you to pray for all those suffering from these tremendous
natural disasters.  We anticipate large appeals for funding.  If you
are called to give, please do so through PDA account number DR000148.

Almighty
and everlasting God, You are strength to those who suffer and comfort
to those who grieve. Let the prayers of your children who are in
trouble rise to you.
We claim your promises of wholeness as we pray for those who are ill or are suffering loss and long for your healing touch. Make the weak strong, the sick healthy, the broken whole, and confirm those who serve them as agents of your love.

Yours in Christ,

Linda Valentine, executive director, General Assembly Mission Council
Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Bruce Reyes-Chow, Moderator of the 218th General Assembly

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