Presiding Bishop Appoints New Board Chair for Episcopal Relief & Development as Organization Welcomes New Board Members

January 18, 2011

Episcopal Relief & Development has reached out to its church partners in Sri Lanka and Brazil as these countries deal with the aftermath of severe flooding. The agency has responded to needs in Sri Lanka, and awaits the outcome of assessments currently being conducted in Brazil. With at least 32 dead in Sri Lanka and 655 in Brazil, and hundreds of thousands affected in both countries, Episcopal Relief & Development is standing by to offer support to its local partners. Please continue to pray for flood victims and those heading up the relief efforts.

Nearly 390,000 remain homeless in Sri Lanka after floods swept through the northern and eastern regions of the island nation, destroying rice and vegetable crops and causing an estimated $500 million worth of damage. Local officials say this is the most devastating disaster to hit the country since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Episcopal Relief & Development is responding to needs in Sri Lanka through its partner, the Anglican Diocese of Colombo. Program Officer Nagulan Nesiah reports that “the Diocese is providing food to 6,630 individuals and providing shelter on their church property. The church is providing dry rations as well as procuring food and mobilizing parish communities to assist in providing cooked meals to those affected.”

In the mountains around Rio de Janeiro, a region which received a month’s worth of rain in just eight hours last week, floods and landslides have buried entire towns in mud. With many still missing, local rescuers fear that the death toll may exceed 1,000 people. “We have been in contact with the Diocese of Rio de Janeiro about the flooding,” said Karla Avila, Program Officer for Episcopal Relief & Development. “While the diocese is in the process of assessing and identifying needs, Episcopal Relief & Development stands ready to support the response to all those suffering.”

In addition to partners in Sri Lanka and Brazil, Episcopal Relief & Development is also been in contact with local church partners dealing with flooding in Colombia.

More than 2 million Colombians are affected by flooding, the worst in the country’s history, which has so far killed over 300 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Columbia’s rainy season usually begins in September and wanes through November and December, but this year’s La Niña cycle has lengthened and worsened the season. The country has been in a state of emergency since early December, and on January 6, the government extended the declaration for an additional 20 days. Episcopal Relief & Development has been in touch with its partner, the Episcopal Diocese of Colombia, and stands ready to respond.

Episcopal Relief & Development’s partnerships with local dioceses and churches worldwide are a strength and a blessing, allowing the agency to care for people suffering in the aftermath of disasters. To help sustain Episcopal Relief & Development’s disaster response activities around the world, please consider donating to the Disaster Response Fund.