Did you know that the church can make a significant impact in the midst of a disaster or crisis? Churches have a powerful role in setting an example in the community, forming networks and building relationships to facilitate disaster management.
Churches also help to identify risks and reduce their potential impact, and respond to disasters. We’ve heard some amazing stories of how the local church is preparing for, responding to and reducing the impact of disasters – whether these are floods or windstorms, droughts or earthquakes.
Setting a personal example in Honduras
Church leaders can set a good example to their congregations by preparing their own families for disasters. In Honduras, one pastor decided to move his garden to a higher location, despite the land being less productive, because it would be safer in case of flooding. When the rain came, the uplands he was cultivating were not affected. He has since used this example to convince others in his community that it will help them to be more resilient to future floods.
Forming networks in Bangladesh
The church can also play a role in forming networks and linking to other humanitarian agencies. In Bangladesh, some church members formed an Inter-Church Networking Committee (ICN) aiming to conduct advocacy, networking and coordination activities in relation to disasters.
After its formation, a local community was hit by a storm that destroyed the homes of 13 families, injured three people and destroyed crops and animals. Church members within the community reached out to ICN for assistance.
ICN communicated with the local government and NGOs and requested support for the affected families. They also took action by administering first aid and mobilising funds that were reportedly used to support the poorest families. After the crisis, ICN gave training to community members on planting hazard-resistant crops and assisting families who had lost their houses with reconstruction.