(Header image) Children in Vanuatu are given trauma counselling including art therapy to cope with the impacts of TC Harold. Credit: Anglican Church of Melanesia, Vanuatu. (Above) CAN DO volunteers deliver much needed agricultural supplies to communities affected by flooding from TC Harold in Solomon Islands. Credit: CAN DO.

Throughout the Scriptures we see a consistent theme of the importance of preparedness.

From the story of Joseph and his interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams in Genesis 41, through to several parables of Jesus, to his words to the seven churches in Revelation, we see the importance of being prepared in various ways for what lies ahead.

The term, ‘Be Prepared’, was adopted by the founder of the Scouting movement, Robert Baden-Powell. He meant it to be applied to being in a state of readiness for whatever situation might arise. Baden-Powell’s legacy has significance for AOA as he is buried in Nyeri, Kenya, where we work with the Diocese of Mount Kenya West.

Anglican Overseas Aid believes that God wants us to be prepared: prepared for the everyday, but particularly when an emergency strikes. This is when the most vulnerable are even more so, and when help is most needed.

In April this year, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands felt the effects of Tropical Cyclone Harold just as they were beginning to prepare for COVID-19. With so many complex challenges at once, it is very difficult for these communities to plan ahead. That’s where we help.

Community members in Santo, Vanuatu, come together to learn more about how to include the most vulnerable in times of crisis. Here they are participating in the ‘wool exercise’, where wool represents the connections between members of the community, visualising the relationships. Credit: Anglican Church of Melanesia, Vanuatu.

Our Rapid Response Emergency Fund exists so that we can offer help quickly. We usually do this through our Anglican Church partners, but also sometimes through other church-based humanitarian networks.

This year we have not only responded to Tropical Cyclone Harold in the Pacific, but also to the effects of COVID-19 in various countries. Now, our Fund needs replenishing so that we are always ready and able to help.

You can help us continue to be prepared by donating to our Spring Appeal. Join us as co-workers in God’s mission of compassionate care when disasters strike around the world.

Throughout the gospels, Jesus tells a number of parables about being prepared in different contexts. One such parable is at the end of his Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 7. There, he says that those who put his words into action are like those who build their house on rock. They are well prepared for when the storms come, and their house remains standing.

For us, the Rapid Response Emergency Fund is our ‘house on rock’ – we are thoroughly prepared to show Christ’s compassion to help others when the storms come.

Please, in this time of uncertainty, contribute to our ‘house on rock’, so that we can continue to help when the most vulnerable suffer devastating blows.

Children in Vanuatu receive trauma counselling so they can cope with the disaster and express their feelings. Credit: Anglican Church of Melanesia, Vanuatu.

When TC Harold tracked its way through the Pacific, it passed within 135 kilometres of Solomon Islands as a Category 2 storm, before heading towards Vanuatu. It then made landfall in Vanuatu on the island of Espiritu Santo on 6 April as a much stronger Category 5 cyclone.

The Solomon Islands experienced widespread flooding along with destructive winds. As a result, much of their food supply was lost, particularly in the Guadalcanal region.

CAN DO volunteers pack agricultural kits including tools and seeds so that communities can replant home gardens and become food secure. Credit: CAN DO.

AOA led the Church Agencies Network Disaster Operations (CAN DO) response, with partners undertaking an assessment, and then providing much needed food, farming tools and seeds, as well as hygiene packs. At the same time, information about COVID-19 prevention was distributed.

On the harder hit island of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu, there were concerns for how the most vulnerable were coping.

People with disabilities as well as at-risk women and children were reached door-to-door with psychosocial support, including pastoral care and service referrals for protection.

We built on already-established networks in our Vanuatu program, increasing the response to handle the double impact of TC Harold and COVID-19 on vulnerable women and children.

This response work was funded in part by donations from our supporters as well as by the Government of Australia and implemented through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership.

To donate to our 2020 Spring Appeal, click on the ‘Please Donate’ button below (choose ’01. 2020 Spring Appeal’ from the ‘Donation’ drop-down menu) or call us on 1800 249 880.

Alternatively, you can send a cheque/money order made payable to Anglican Overseas Aid to:

Anglican Overseas Aid
PO Box 389
Abbotsford, VIC 3067