UMCOR aids flood-ravaged Nigeria

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Key points: 

  • Severe flooding between June and November of last year killed more than 600 people and displaced some 1.4 million in the region.
  • A $150,000 grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief is being used to purchase food and other supplies.
  • Some 1,500 Nigerian households are expected to benefit from the relief.

Flood survivors in the Nigeria Episcopal Area are getting much needed food and other support through a $150,000 grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Last year, severe flooding between June and November killed more than 600 people and displaced some 1.4 million in the region.

Nigeria Episcopal Area Bishop John Wesley Yohanna expressed appreciation as the resources were distributed in Jalingo.

“Brothers and sisters,” he said, “what we are witnessing today is the act of God through the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries.”

Global Ministries is the parent agency of UMCOR. When Yohanna observed the plight of those who lost almost everything in the disaster, he contacted the relief agency.

“Today,” the bishop said, “all of us are witnesses of God’s love.”

He said he would charge his conference administrative assistants to work with UMCOR to ensure that the items are distributed as intended.

“This should reach the designated people without any discrimination of religion. Suffering does not recognize people’s religion; all are affected,” he said.  

Dorcas Dugule, who leads the church’s disaster relief efforts locally, emphasized that the distribution should be done as planned by the committee, from level to level until it reaches all who need it. Some 1,500 Nigerian households are expected to benefit from the aid.

“We received $150,000 to purchase relief materials such as grains, rice, bean, Maggi (soup), palm oil and … containers, buckets and basins that are to be shared alongside the foodstuffs and kitchen utensils,” Dugule said.

“These items,” she continued, “are not going to be shared randomly. We will monitor the distribution until it reaches the people concerned. We are sending relief materials to affected places within Taraba, Gombe and Adamawa states.”

Bryson Ahmed Ben Taraba, permanent secretary engineer of the State Emergency Management Agency, applauded the effort.

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“We are always proud of what The United Methodist Church is doing in the state and the nation at large,” he said. “We have been feeling the impact of the gospel through the humanitarian activities of the UMC in almost all the sector from education (to) health care delivery.

“Today,” he added, “we are here to witness the unexpected. Leaving such work in the hands of the government alone cannot be enough. If other churches and non-governmental organizations can imitate what UMC is doing, people will not suffer. I am overwhelmed by the way the distribution is done, and I believe the items will reach the designated people. The state government is very grateful for this great gesture.”

After the commissioning, the bishop distributed some of the items.

Mallam Abdullahi Usman, a Muslim cleric, was a beneficiary.

“Since we were displaced by the flood,” he said, “this is the biggest help I have ever received. It came in a time that our country is passing through hardship due to removal of a fuel subsidy that tripled our suffering because of the price hike in our markets.

“This gift is a big relief for my entire family. I sincerely thank the church for not even minding our faith but is sharing with us this gift. I pray Allah to bless the UMC of Nigeria.”

Justina Ezekiel was another recipient. “I was just thinking of what to cook for the children,” she recalled, “because we had exhausted the last grain. UMC, I don’t know where to start. It is as if God showed you our predicaments because these items are truly going to bring relief to us.” 

Ezekiel Ibrahim is the communicator for the Nigeria episcopal office.

News media contact: Julie Dwyer at (615) 742-5470 or [email protected]. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.   

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