Battling disasters: love in action

First there was a volcanic eruption, then an earthquake, and soon thereafter the outbreak of the coronavirus. As if this was not enough, the year ended with super typhoons that brought destruction to large parts of the country. The volunteers of NACSEA Relief had a lot to do in the year 2020.

The year 2020 was by no means an easy one for the staff of the aid organisation run by the New Apostolic Church South East Asia (NAC SEA). The retired District Apostle Urs Hebeisen, the president of the charity, writes in his foreword of the Annual Report 2020, which has just been published: “Once again action-packed and not without challenges, yet always true to our motto ‘With love at work’.”

NACSEA Relief expresses a special thank you to its donors and partner organisations human aktiv (Germany), NAK Humanitas and NAK Diakonia (both Switzerland). Some 70 per cent of the funds came from these organisations. About 30 per cent came from individual donors and also the local population.

It never rains but it pours

A volcanic eruption, an earthquake, and typhoons: the volunteers of NACSEA Relief were among the first to respond and stayed to help with reconstruction. After Typhoon Phanfone made landfall and caused massive damage, a relief team travelled up to 13 hours one way to reach the most remote community in the battered region in Bulalacao in the province of Oriental Mindoro. With funds from the Swiss charity human aktiv, NACSEA Relief was not only able to provide the affected families with food, but could also help with the reconstruction of their homes.

Also after Typhoons Rolly and Tisay, the volunteers of NACSEA Relief were eager and able to help with reconstruction efforts thanks to support from the Swiss charity human aktiv. With materials such as timber and nails they rebuilt houses; and seeds and fertilisers helped people rebuild their livelihoods.

A new school building

A new school building has been completed for Bugtong Koy Elementary School in Negros Occidental. NACSEA Relief supported this building project by NAK-Humanitas. In spite of a widely imposed community quarantine, the team of builders were allowed to proceed with the construction. They had to stay on because quarantine orders in their home villages made it impossible for them to return home for over two months. They lived on the construction site. The teachers and students are very grateful and excited because for the first time they have real classrooms.

Prevention of cybercrime

NACSEA Relief is also committed in the fight against sexual abuse of minors. Since it seems impossible to prosecute all these crimes, the charity focuses on prevention through education. NACSEA Relief created a Powerpoint presentation as a tool to inform and educate the youth. It was distributed and is suitable for seminars wherever the need arises.

The impact of COVID-19

During the pandemic, NACSEA Relief used local contacts and networks within the New Apostolic Church to quickly help those in need. The pandemic has also shown how good the co-operation with other charities is. Together with ALPS, Aid Line Philippines Swiss, NACSEA Relief was able to put together and distribute 170 relief packs consisting of rice, noodles, milk, salt, laundry soap and tooth paste, and of course mouth-nose masks. The parcels were distributed to indigenous families who desperately needed aid.

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Katrin Löwen
Philippines, Aid agencies