DECATUR, Ga. — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is partnering with disaster relief agencies around the world to provide emergency support to the victims of Tropical Cyclone Pam in the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu.
CBF sent an initial $5,000 to Asia Pacific Baptist Aid, which is coordinating the Baptist response efforts in Vanuatu, and continues to work with Baptist World Aid, the development and relief arm of the Baptist World Alliance, and its partners in the region to determine the required emergency response as well as the long-term recovery and rehabilitation needs.
News reports indicate that at least 11 people were killed by the cyclone and more than 3,300 have been displaced across the cluster of more than 80 islands with an estimated population of 270,000 located 1,250 miles northeast of Brisbane, Australia. Officials expect those totals to rise as relief agencies receive reports from some of the more remote islands of Vanautu, which is considered as one of the world’s poorest nations.
Early aerial and ground views of the area have shown widespread devastation, including the flattening of homes, community buildings, hospitals, schools and churches. Survivors are preparing for a lack of food in the coming months due to the destruction of crops in Vanautu, whose residents rely largely on subsistence farming.
David Harding, CBF’s international disaster response coordinator, emphasized the importance of Baptists coming together to aid the people of Vanuatu.
“Individual lives have been thrown into chaos and pain, bringing a sense of hopelessness and helplessness until friends start showing up to say they care and begin removing the debris in the short-term and rebuilding the community in the long-term,” Harding said. “CBF is one of those friends through the Baptist network of partners in the Asia Pacific region.”
CBF is a Christian Network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry efforts, global missions and a broad community of support.The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.