News Briefs for March 22, 2019
News reports from Indonesia, Andrews University, the United Kingdom (UK), Loma Linda University, Mozambique and Malawi
From ADRA – On March 16, flash floods and mudslides hit the eastern Indonesian province of Papua near the subdistrict of Jayapura. Reports are the flood waters left at least 104 dead, 60 missing, 74 injured, and displaced more than 4,000 people. Over 350 houses and two main bridges are also reportedly damaged. Additionally, more than 11,700 households in total are affected.
With roadways underwater, getting to communities affected has delayed Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) aid workers. Currently, ADRA staff and volunteers in local areas have been mobilized to conduct a market survey of available goods and prices.
“The flash floods occurred at night when most of the residents were asleep,” says Ralfie Maringka, emergency response coordinator for ADRA in Indonesia, a local resident in the country who was deployed on March 17 to help coordinate efforts. “As of now, we are assessing what people’s needs are in the hardest hit areas of Sentani, Japapura, the capital city of Papua Province.”
According to a news story from the North American Division, more than 225 people registered for a Rise Up Against Abuse Rally (the first of its kind) that took place March 7-10 on the campus of Andrews University (AU). The rally was sponsored by AU’s Offices of University Health & Wellness and Diversity & Inclusion and served as the official launch of the new Rise Up Against Abuse initiative, designed to help people use awareness, education, intervention, and prevention to take decisive actions against all forms of abuse. The event featured numerous abuse survivors, advocates, and inspirational presenters, including two-time Grammy nominee Sarah Kelly and Emmy-winning writer and filmmaker Chris Silber.
From ADRA UK – ADRA in the United Kingdom completed its second phase of the “I AM URBAN” initiative for Global Youth Day on March 16 in the Holloway and Willesden district of churches in London.
‘I AM URBAN’ is a joint venue between ADRA in the United Kingdom (Lead Partner) and the Adventist Community Services (ACS) of the British Union Conference (BUC) and includes partnerships with several other entities of the church in the United Kingdom, including the Trans-European Division. The initiative was established in order for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the UK to utilize the 17 sustainable development goals outlined recently by the United Nations.
The young people from the Holloway church “adopted” a local care home, and performed “random acts of kindness” on streets and at a local shopping center. Knife deaths in the capital city were the focus for the #ENDITNOW Knife Crime march in the afternoon, led by the Holloway Pathfinders with the Pathfinder Drum Corp.
This was in response to 35 high-profile stabbings in the capital, which occurred since the start of this year. Studies in 2018 reveal there has been an 8 percent rise in crimes involving knife stabbings, and a 15 percent increase in admission rates to hospitals for assaults involving sharp instruments.
From a Loma Linda University press release – Loma Linda University Health has received a more than $430,000 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health to study ways vitamin D could potentially be used to enhance intestinal wall repair of patients suffering inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
IBD is a chronic and debilitating disease in the human intestines that affects approximately 1.6 million Americans. The number of people affected by IBD is rising worldwide, making it an increasingly global disease in the 21st century.
The grant is for two years, with a total of $433,340 in funding.
From a Whatsapp message shared by Wagner Kuhn, a missions professor at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University:
“Praise God! We are thankful to be alive after a most devastating cyclone/hurricane (named “Idai”) destroyed the city of Beira, Mozambique, where we were participating in an International Bible and Mission Conference (led by Alberto Timm, Wilson Paroschi, Reinaldo Siqueira, Sidionil Biazzi and Wagner Kuhn—myself).
I write to you as I fly from the city of Tete (Mozambique) to Johannesburg (South Africa), and then home to Michigan, USA.
This past Thursday (March 14) was the most agonizing and fear-stricken day in my life as far as I can remember!!! For several hours during the night, it’s seemed as though a jumbo jet—Boeing 747 was about to crash into our hotel building coming through our rooms! I cannot describe the thoughts, feelings and emotions that go through one’s mind and body as the destruction is happening all around you and is just about to take you!!!
The worst is that we had to go through this experience through the night mostly in total darkness, being completely vulnerable to the devastating and powerful elements of nature!!!
I thank you for your prayers for the people of Beira, Mozambique, and especially for our Adventist university there as they now need to rebuild this most-needed school that now lies in ruins! Please think about how you can help!
Thank you and obrigado!
From Malawi Union Women and Children Ministries Director, Emily Banda Egolet:
Malawi has recorded 56 deaths and 577 injuries following recent heavy rains and floods in the country. Three people have been reported missing.
A total of 184,589 households (approximately 922,945 people) have been affected and 16,545 households (approximately 82,725 people) have been displaced. Most of the displaced families are living in camps. So far, a total of 187 camps have been established in the 14 affected districts.
Assessments to establish the extent of damage in all the 14 affected districts are still underway.
The department continues to provide and coordinate search and rescue operations as well as the provision of relief assistance to the affected people.
The disaster has largely affected women and children who are rendered homeless and run the risk of catching sanitation-related diseases such as cholera and diarrhea.
This disaster has not spared the SDA congregants, making it difficult to minister to people who are hurting.
Malawi Union Conference Pastor Frackson Kuyama recently issued an appeal to all church leadership and institution to ensure they assist the affected people.
We appeal to the SDA family worldwide to support the church in Malawi in not only praying for our affected members and Malawians at large but also through assistance with short- and long-term support ranging from relief items to reconstruction. Support, whether financial or material, may be channeled through the Malawi Union Conference office Treasury.