When disaster strikes…
Effectively meeting the needs of those worst affected by disasters through our relief work is one of the goals of the new BMS World Mission strategy
When disaster strikes, your willingness to give generously to those most in need is astounding. We have seen it time and time again, most recently with the Nepal earthquakes when you gave over £534,000 to our appeal. You care and you show it through action.
We are committed to ensuring your gifts are used most effectively and that is why we have been working on how best to respond to disasters to ensure donations help those who are in greatest need, not only when disaster strikes, but also in the long-term recovery process as people rebuild their lives and communities. We want to enable families to be resilient so they are prepared for whatever life throws at them next.
We don’t know when or where the next disaster will occur, but our plan is to co-ordinate relief responses for over 100,000 people in the next five years. We believe that the best way to do this is not just working with partners on the ground but also with Baptist partners around the world.
Behind the numbers
When the first earthquake hit Nepal one year ago (25 April), it was soon apparent to the relief team at BMS that it was a major situation that needed a response. Knowing that the first 48 hours of a disaster is a crucial time, the team gave up their weekends, came into the office and started to come up with a plan of action. Instead of just working on their own, they consulted with a new network which BMS has been instrumental in setting up: BReaD Network.
BReaD Network is the Baptist Relief and Development Network, a group of Baptist agencies from around the world who have decided to work together to respond to major disasters in a more joined-up, effective way. BReaD Network facilitator Rachel Conway, who is based at BMS, was able to contact those in the network with the expertise to help with the Nepal response. This approach meant that instead of potentially 20 different agencies contacting partners in Nepal, just two peolpe did on behalf of all of them, saving the local partners time so they could focus on responding to those in need.
“Co-ordinating together made it a lot easier for our partners in Nepal,” says Rachel. “They really appreciated it. They really felt the support of the global Baptist family, of people praying for them not only in the UK but also in Canada, Australia and America. They really felt that support.”
Together BMS and our BReaD partners not only gave immediate relief like food parcels, medicine and shelter but have been heavily involved in the long-term recovery in Nepal, supporting the communities as they rebuild their lives by giving them access to drinking water, enabling children to go to school again and providing livelihoods training. Rachel recently saw some of the projects BMS are supporting through longstanding partners like United Mission to Nepal and the Nepali Baptists and was encouraged by how well they are going.
“People were really appreciative of the opportunities our partners were providing them with, opportunities that are enabling them to start new businesses and prepare for future disaster,” Rachel says.
Rachel believes that however bleak disasters like the Nepal earthquakes can be, BReaD can provide hope for the future. “Disasters are always time for mourning,” she says. “But as we know God is present and works even in the terrible situations. With every disaster there is a real opportunity to bring communities together, to bring the Baptist family together and to bring prayers together, to walk alongside people and see people flourish.”
Together, we can support people in their darkest hour and as they get on the road to a better future. Will you stand with us and help us help those worst affected by disasters around the world?