Having food to eat means peace
The sun rises on this day just as it does on every other—many people enjoy breakfast, many people do not. And yet it does not take all that much to be there for other people in times of need. Today is World Humanitarian Day.
The United Nations (UN) introduced this international commemorative day in 2008. By now things should actually be going much better for people around the world. If only our distribution systems were more effective, our collective desire for peace greater, or if there was less appetite for possessions on the part of a small minority ... And then there are also natural disasters that wreak havoc on people again and again, resulting in equally terrible calamities.
So it is that a portion of humanity remains in need of material aid and humanitarian support. The UN estimates the number of those dependent on rapid emergency aid at 100 million people. Humanitarian aid may not be development aid, but it is quick help in severe situations. Here the focus is on people.
Food rations for South Sudan
Campaign to Combat Hunger is the name of one of the programs established collectively by the Missionswerk of Southern Germany and NAK-karitativ, the aid agency of several other District Churches in Germany. The objective is to provide famine relief for South Sudan.
A famine such as the world has rarely ever seen is currently unfolding there and in the neighbouring regions of Africa. Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering, among them a large number of children. As NAK-karitativ relates, 559 families—that is, over 2,000 people—were once again provided with food rations in May 2017. Each family received ten kilograms of cornmeal, five kilograms of beans, and 1.5 litres of oil per family member. With these rations, families can sustain themselves for at least a month, according to the report.
Although the distribution of emergency aid packages will not solve the supply bottlenecks in the long term, it does provide some strength for the people over a given period of time. “Having food to eat means peace for the children. When a child is provided for and has enough to eat, he or she can play with other children,” relates Apostle Morris from South Sudan.
Containers on their way to Suriname
Two forty-foot containers filled with humanitarian emergency aid are on their way to Suriname. And Stichting Corantijn, the aid organisation of the New Apostolic Church in the Netherlands, would gladly love to fill another container. But the transport costs alone amount to some 4,400 euros. Suriname, the smallest state in South America, needs real support: high illiteracy rates combine with a high HIV-mortality rate, a high rate of inflation, and high unemployment rates to make the perfect storm. To make matters worse, the people earn low wages, suffer from poor security policies, and have little opportunity for education. Anyone who helps out here can do a lot of good with very little.
Aid for refugees in Europe
There are even some countries in Europe that need humanitarian aid. For example, the Church is supporting residences for refugees in Greece through its German aid agency NAK-karitativ. A shelter known as a “mosaico house” has just been opened. There, refugees in greatest need—for example, women travelling alone with children—can find decent accommodation and support targeted to their needs. The majority of the approximately 60,000 refugees to arrive in Greece following the border closings on the Balkan route are still living in emergency shelters. Depending on the location, these take the form of camps, former military barracks, or shipping containers.
Active on many fronts
This is only a brief overview of the activities of the New Apostolic Church. Its numerous aid agencies include:
- NAK-humanitas (Switzerland)
- Missionswerk (Southern Germany)
- NAK-karitativ (Germany)
- Stichting Corantijn (Netherlands)
- NAC SEA Relief Fund (South-East Asia)
- NACRO (Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe)
- Kumea (East Africa)
- NAK-Diakonia (Switzerland/Austria)
- re Charitable Ministry (USA)
- NAC Foreign Extension (Canada)
- NACare (Australia)
Humanity, solidarity, and charity
Humanitarian aid helps other human beings. This special commemorative day stands as a reminder of our own humanity, of our solidarity with the weak, of Christian charity for all. It reminds us of the many sacrifices made. It reminds us of the many helpers who work with such commitment to try to make things better for other human beings.
Photo: Thomas Mukoya / Reuters