Zion Calendar

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

United Church Responds to Flood Crisis Recovery in Alberta

Emergency Response (Copied from the United Church of Canada website)

26 June 2013
On Monday, June 24, staff of the United Church’s General Council Office consulted with staff and people of the Alberta and Northwest Conference, the Aboriginal Ministries Circle, and the All Tribes Presbytery of the All Native Circle Conference on the United Church’s response to the flooding in southern Alberta. We are grateful for their insights and guidance as we shape United Church response to the unprecedented flooding.
True to their indomitable spirit, Albertans have rallied to the aid of their fellow citizens and neighbours experiencing tremendous personal upheaval. The flooding displaced more than 175,000 people and damaged and destroyed private property, vital infrastructure, and public works. Reconstruction is estimated in the billions of dollars. Many evacuees are able to stay with family and friends. Others are being housed in temporary shelters. Entire communities are coming forward to help with food, bedding, medical care, friendship, and support.
The impact of the floods has seriously affected some Aboriginal communities, including Aboriginal people living in urban centres such as Calgary. Donations received at the United Church for the Alberta Flood Relief Fund will be shared with Aboriginal communities affected by this disaster.
It is heartening to see the thousands of Albertans and people from neighbouring provinces who are generously volunteering their time to help with the cleanup as the crisis moves from an immediate emergency response to a time of recovery and rehabilitation.
Similarly, we can be grateful for the generosity of the governments of Alberta and Canada, which have committed hundreds of millions of dollars for recovery efforts. In addition, and as an example of the spirit of generosity that unites all Canadians, countless Canadian aid and other organizations and individuals are donating funds to help with the cleanup and rebuilding efforts.
Funds will be needed for some time to come. Alberta premier Alison Redford estimates it will take 10 years for damaged infrastructure to be restored to pre-flood conditions.
United Church Welcoming Donations for Alberta Flood Relief
Always compassionate in their response to those in crisis, United Church people across Canada are coming to the aid of the people affected by the floods. The General Council Office has established an Alberta Flood Relief Fund and is welcoming donations. The United Church will work closely with Alberta and Northwest Conference and its presbyteries and with All Tribes Presbytery of the All Native Circle Conference to develop plans to respond to the needs of the people affected by the floods. The generosity of individual Canadians, governments, and aid organizations may mean more funds are collected than are needed in the immediate response coordinated by the United Church. Funds will be retained within a designated fund for longer-term reconstruction in Alberta, for flood relief or rehabilitation efforts in any other affected western provinces, or for use in future disasters within Canada. As climate change scientists are telling us, as we understand more clearly the effects of climate change, it is increasingly likely that extreme weather events like the one Albertans have experienced will occur with more frequency throughout Canada.
How You Can Help
At this difficult time the people in Alberta affected by the floods need our prayers. We also need to thank and pray for the safety of emergency personnel engaged in search and rescue, and the Red Cross and Canadian Forces that are assisting them. Some people are living in fear for those thought to have been carried away by the floods and who remain missing. We know a few families are already grieving the loss of loved ones. We pray for all those whose lives have been disrupted and who have suffered great loss. As we hold them in prayer, let us also remember those who seek to provide support and counsel. We think of clergy who will be working hard to draw communities together, and for city officials, public servants, and town managers for their tireless efforts to bring stability.
As Isaiah assured the people of God’s presence so long ago, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you” (Isaiah 43:1).
Support Children Affected by the Crisis
Children and their families are directly affected by the floods. Children across Canada are hearing about the floods. We are mindful of the need to support children as they experience the floods and to support their expressions of compassion for people who are affected by the floods. The United Church of Canada resource Super Friends is available to help children and their families understand how the church responds to emergencies.
Any donations received and designated for “Alberta floods” will be sent to the Alberta and Northwest Conference for flood relief efforts.
Donations can be made:
Online via our secure donation page
By cheque, money order, or Visa or MasterCard information with donation amount to:
The United Church of Canada
Philanthropy Unit—Emergency Response for Alberta
3250 Bloor St. West, Suite 300
Toronto, ON  M8X 2Y4

IMPORTANT: Make your cheque payable to The United Church of Canada. Please be sure to note "Alberta floods" on the face of the cheque.
For more information contact:

Gary Kenny
Program Coordinator for Emergency Response and International Development
The United Church of Canada
Tel: 416-231-7680 ext. 4051
Toll-free: 1-800-268-3781 ext. 4051
E-mail: Gary Kenny