Connection Between Development and Emergency Relief

Post a Comment » Written on March 17th, 2014     
Filed under: Disaster Relief
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I have worked with refugees in the United States and therefore realize how hard it is for refugees to become a part of the new community they flee to. It takes a long time for the “host community” to turn in to a “home community” and in some culture this never happens.  However in Kenya, refugees from Congo have been given the opportunity to become part of the community. They are now helping others in their village as well.

In April there was massive flooding in Kenya. Fortunately, not many people died but the flooding killed animals and destroyed an estimated 10,000 homes. Families have been exposed to diseases like malaria and there was a lack of food and clean water. All of these issues have been compounded by the mass homelessness.SAM_3210

The Evangelical Covenant Church of Kenya (ECCK), with funding from CWR, is working to meet the needs presented by this disaster.  About 700 families turned to the ECCK for relief and local leaders praised the initiative of the church. Kitengela church members, who are 80% refugee, turned out en masse to donate clothes for the relief efforts. This is great because only two years ago they were the recipients of clothing donations themselves. Because of the support members of the Kitengela church received from the ECCK previously, they were now in a position to help others when the time came.

In this case, previous development work helped improve disaster relief efforts. And it appears that the opposite is true as well.  The flood relief work helped create strong ties between the ECCK and the local leadership of the communities; because of these new relationships, chances are high that the ECCK will return to those villages to begin new community development initiatives.


–Michyla Lindberg, CWR intern

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