These are some of the past emergencies Anglican Overseas Aid has responded to with the generous support of donors in Australia.

While much of Australia was experiencing lockdowns as a result of the effects of COVID-19, the situation in Myanmar in 2021 was worse.

In short, the COVID situation in Myanmar was dire, with many people dying, including within the churches there. Oxygen was in critically short supply.

Anglican Overseas Aid launched an urgent appeal to help the people of Myanmar cope with this crisis.

The civil war raging in Syria, which began in 2011, has caused one of the largest humanitarian crises the world has ever known. Of the estimated 11.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, 5 million are experiencing acute needs, 6.2 million are internally displaced, and many have been displaced multiple times.

Our ACT Alliance partner, The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), has been one of the very few relief agencies working inside Syria to help some of the millions of people suffering within their own war-torn country.

We raised approximately $4,500 for support for people in Beirut after the explosion that hit the city in July 2020. The money was donated through the ACT Alliance Appeal.

A state of emergency was declared in 2018 in Vanuatu as, for the second time in a year, all the residents of Ambae Island had to be evacuated, losing homes, land, and livestock – all possessions other than those they could carry.

Anglican Overseas Aid worked with our long-term partner, the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM), in their relief efforts, and launched an appeal to raise urgent funds. This appeal formed our 2018 Spring Appeal.

Your donations to this appeal supported ongoing relief efforts, including seeds and tools, dignity kits, accommodation for students and teaching staff, school supplies, psychological first aid and counselling, rebuilding community structures, rebuilding agriculture and increasing incomes, relocation of church schools, and accommodation for students and teaching staff.

On 28th September the areas of Palu and Donggala on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, suffered a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, which then triggered a tsunami with waves reaching as high as six metres. The combined impact of the earthquake, and tsunami left the area in complete devastation.

The death toll from this disaster reached more than 2,200, with many more missing an injured and 2.4 million displaced.

We responded by sending $10,000 from our Rapid Response Emergency Fund to ACT Alliance. Our partners through ACT Alliance, Peleski and YEU,  helped to evacuate people, provide health services, food and supplies, as well as help resettle those impacted.

The Rohingya people, a ethnic minority group in Myanmar, have fled for their lives to neighbouring states to escape a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing. Many of the them fled across the border to safety in Bangladesh.

ACT Alliance launched an appeal for humanitarian work in Rakhine, north Myanmar. Our ACT Alliance partners, Christian Aid and Lutheran World Federation (LWF), sought to raise over US$1.5m to help with the work in those Rohingya communities in Myanmar. It is estimated that more than 140,000 people have been displaced in the region and have been living in over 30 IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps in the Rakhine region.

On October 17 2016, the battle for Mosul began, a part of the broader conflict that has ravaged Iraq. At the time, humanitarian partners in Iraq estimated that up to 1.5 million additional people were impacted.

One third of the total Iraqi population (approximately 34 million) had already been displaced prior to the battle for Mosul and were in need of humanitarian support. In Kurdistan, Northern Iraq, there were more than 1 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees.

The most immediate needs were for water, food, emergency shelter, and medical assistance. Our ACT Alliance partners, Christian Aid and Lutheran World Federation, were some of the few agencies working desperately to help those affected by this conflict providing these basics.

On 15 May 2016 Sri Lanka was hit by large storms that caused widespread flooding and landslides, with whole villages submerged. More than 237,000 people were made homeless and 84 people died. Overall, more than 340,000 people were affected.

We sent $10,000 from our Rapid Response Emergency Fund to support the emergency response work of the Board of Social Responsibility of the Diocese of Colombo (Anglican Church of Ceylon).

Their work included emergency relief programs for affected people, along with longer-term recovery and livelihood support once people were able to return to their homes.

Cyclone Winston hit Fiji on 20 and 21 February 2016 causing widespread devastation. The Category 5 storm was the strongest cyclone to ever make landfall in Fiji.

Up to 350,000 people were affected, complicated by the remote nature of the many islands that make up Fiji.

Our partner for this emergency response was the Anglican Missions Board (AMB) in New Zealand, who worked in the village of Maniava on the eastern side of Fiji to rebuild people’s homes.

We responded quickly to support our ACT Alliance partners in Nepal as they helped people affected by the devastating earthquake that struck on 25 April 2015, which was followed soon after by another earthquake.

Money was sent from our Rapid Response Emergency Fund to our ACT Alliance partners, and since then generous donors have enabled us to send more. The relief and recovery work is ongoing.

Cyclone Pam rampaged across the 80 islands of the Pacific nation of Vanuatu on 13 March 2015. Out of a population of 267,000 people, 188,000 were affected, with 110,000 people in need of drinking water, and many left homeless or with damaged homes. Crop land was damaged or destroyed.

We joined with ACT Alliance members working in Vanuatu as part of a co-ordinated response.

As we have been supporting long-term development work with our partner, the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) we were an implementing partner. This was the first time Anglican Overseas Aid has been an implementing partner in an ACT Alliance emergency response. We submitted a proposal to ACT Alliance to work with ACOM in partnership with ABM (who have observer status with ACT Alliance) – a fantastic example of Anglican agencies working together.

In the remote islands of northern Vanuatu, water sources, water systems, food crops and agricultural land were damaged, and many people lost their stored food. People are subsistence farmers, and were already paying large prices for supplementary food to be shipped in. It is essential to rebuild their capacity to grow their own food. Our proposal was for $60,000 to help communities in these islands replant crops. ACT Alliance fully funded this proposal.

We also raised more than $90,000 for our Cyclone Pam Response Appeal to add to the ACT Alliance project. This funding was used by ACOM for immediate emergency response and rebuilding after the cyclone.

As part of the longer-term recovery efforts, ACOM will work with communities to help them prepare for future disasters (including floods and cyclones), which is essential as a changing climate creates more volatile weather patterns in the Pacific. This work includes assessing their vulnerability and determining, as a community, how they can limit the damage from a natural disaster, minimise the risk to their community and respond quickly and effectively to future disasters.

In August 2014, the Primate of Australia, the Most Reverend Dr Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne, launched our appeal to help Christians and other minority groups in Iraq affected by the brutal advance of Islamic State militants.

Our ACT Alliance partners Christian Aid and Lutheran World Federation are some of the few agencies who are working desperately to help those affected by this conflict.

Between 7 July and 26 August 2014, Israeli military operations targeting Hamas militants in Gaza caused massive destruction in Gaza. More than 2,000 Palestinians were killed, and more than 500,000 were displaced. Almost 12 months after a ceasefire was declared, there were still more than 100,000 are homeless.

Our partner in Gaza, the Al Ahli Hospital, (run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem) reported damage from the bombing, and staff worked tirelessly to attend to the wounded.

We raised more than $75,000, which was sent to the hospital to fund its work tending to the wounded, and providing material support to Gazans who took shelter in the hospital compound. The hospital continues to work to support Gazans as they recover from the impact of the conflict.

In the early morning of 8 November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the eastern Visayas region of the Philippines. With winds up to 250kmh sweeping through the region, accompanied by a storm surge of up to 5m, the typhoon caused widespread damage and losses. The Philippines Government says up to 14.1 million people were affected, including 6,300 casualties and hundreds more missing, 4 million displaced, and about 1 million houses destroyed.

Anglican Overseas Aid launched an appeal, with $133,000 raised that supported the work of ACT Alliance partners Christian Aid and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.

ACT Alliance members distributed relief goods while also providing early recovery support through livelihoods restoration, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), cash transfers, shelter and psychosocial care. Since April 2014, the work of ACT Alliance partners has been moving from emergency response to recovery and rebuilding.

In the lead-up to the first anniversary of the disaster, our ACT Alliance partners in the Philippines produced this report about their response.

On 6 February 2013, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck Solomon Islands and generated a destructive tsunami that hit a number of islands in an isolated chain in Temotu Province in the country’s south-east. About 1,000 households across 25 communities in West Santa Cruz Island were affected, many of them losing everything, and there were 11 deaths, mostly children and the elderly.

Anglican Overseas Aid provided assistance through the provision of emergency supplies such as clothes, food and cooking pots as well as emergency solar lighting.

In 2010 and 2012, a series of failed rains plunged the Horn of Africa into drought, affecting food security. Combined with violent conflict and the resulting mass displacement of people as they fled, the situation escalated into what is now known as the East Africa Food Crisis.

The Afar region of Ethiopia was particularly badly affected, compounded by volcanic eruptions which contaminated remaining water supplies. People were severely malnourished, with pregnant women and children weakened and becoming particularly vulnerable to disease.

The money raised through this appeal provided access to clean water and sanitation, materials for households and shelters, safe environments for children and peace-building within communites.

Severe floods in Pakistan killed more than 1,600 people, left more than 2 million people homeless and affected at least 13 million people.

According to the country’s National Disaster Management Authority, the 2010 floods were the worst disaster in Pakistan’s history.

We responded through ACT Alliance partners.

On 12 January 2010 a powerful 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the impoverished nation of Haiti.

The earthquake – the biggest to hit in Haiti in more than 200 years – killed more than 222,500 people and injured a further 200,000. More than 1.2 million people sought refuge in temporary settlements and 467,701 people left the severely damaged capital Port-au-Prince for other areas.

We responded by supporting ACT Alliance partners who had been working long-term in Haiti.

A series of devastating tsunamis struck Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga in 2009, killing scores of people, flattening villages and causing massive destruction. At least 150 people were killed by the deadly waves which struck the South Pacific countries on 29 September of that year.

Donations from Anglican Overseas Aid supporters helped those affected by the tsunamis in the South Pacific.

Hundreds of Palestinians were killed and wounded during a massive air and ground offensive launched by Israel in late 2008 and early 2009. Israel said the invasion was designed to target Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Despite this, many of the killed and wounded were civilians. A large number of the sick and wounded were treated at Al Ahli Arab Hospital, which is run by the Episcopal Church and has been supported by Anglican Overseas Aid for more than 20 years.

Al Ahli Arab Hospital is always short of vital medical supplies and personnel because of the crippling border closures, but the bombardment pushed the hospital to breaking point. The director of the hospital, Suhaila Tarazi, described the situation as “a real massacre” and “catastrophic”. The generous support of Anglican Overseas Aid supporters helped the hospital to provide urgently needed medical supplies and operations.

On the back of a terrible cholera outbreak in early 2009, the people of Zimbabwe faced a different challenge of being able to feed it’s people. Maize production had collapsed, with almost total crop failure in some areas, leaving about 6 million people facing starvation. Many people needed food handouts just to stay alive during months from January to March, a time when there is usually already a scarcity of food.

Donations to the Zimbabwe Emergency Appeal went into an international campaign coordinated by the ACT Alliance to avert starvation, provide clean, safe water, and improve sanitation facilities in seven districts in Zimbabwe.

More than 2 million people were affected by Cyclone Nargis which struck Burma on 2 May 2008. The military junta imposed restrictions on access by international agencies, but local people, including churches and Non-Government Organisations, worked hard to bring relief to survivors in the worst affected areas. The ACT Alliance responded on behalf of member agencies, including Anglican Overseas Aid.

On the 26th of December 2004 an earthquake along the fault line of the Burma and Indian plates caused tsunamis up to 30 metres high, that collectively became known the Boxing Day Tsunamis. These tsunamis that swept over thousands of coastal communities, killing more than 220,000 people and leaving millions homeless; it was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.

Australians donated more than $880,000 to Anglican Overseas Aid. This money was distributed to ACT Alliance partners working in Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia to fund emergency response and long-term rebuilding work.

Rapid Response Emergency Fund: From no hope to know hope

From no hope to know hope

Donating to our Rapid Response Fund enables us to respond quickly when an emergency strikes around the world. Your donations will either be sent directly to our partners if we work in the affected area or we will join with the ACT Alliance using their networks to provide basic necessities such as food, safe drinking water, shelter, and good hygiene practice.

Find out more here.