Stand together against the storms this Christian Aid Week

MORE than 40 million people globally have been forced to flee their homes but remain in their own countries. Those are people like the thousands in Haiti who regularly experience some of the worst natural disasters on earth.

Bishop Steven stands in support of those affected by treacherous and devastating storms. Photo: Jo Duckles

So, this Christian Aid Week, churchgoers are urged to support those people, by lobbying their MP, giving financial support and holding Big Brekkie events.

The displaced people, like Vilia, outnumber refugees, those who flee across international borders, two to one. Vilia was left homeless by the earthquake in 2010. As she walked the streets she no longer recognised neighbourhood and was surrounded by falling wires and crumbling houses. Devastatingly, she never found her mother.

For Vilia, her husband and their seven children, life became a struggle. Vilia is not alone. Eight years after the earthquake that hit the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, an estimated 38,000 people are still displaced. They continue to face relentless earthquakes, storms and hurricanes.

Hurricane Matthew, in November 2016, wreaked further havoc across the south of the country, destroying up to 90 per cent of some areas. Haiti narrowly escaped disaster when Hurricane Irma swept across the Caribbean in 2017, and it’s only a matter of time before the next hurricane strikes.

Christian Aid’s partner KORAL, helps people prepare for disasters. In the aftermath of the earthquake, they reached out to Vilia and built her and her family a new home strong enough to stand up to natural disasters.

Ahead of Hurricane Matthew KORAL were able to warn local communities, helping evacuate around 5,000 families and saving many lives. In the immediate aftermath, Christian Aid and KORAL distributed urgently-needed shelter kits, hygiene kits, food seeds and cash transfers. And Vilia’s home could shelter 54 people over several days. Yet KORAL has thousands more houses to build for families like her’s, to provide them with safe places to weather the next disasters.

Bishop Steven is supporting the campaign. He says: “Christian Aid Week is a collective act of Christian love and witness, raising millions of pounds to help those living in the poorest communities on the planet. This Christian Aid week churches across the country will stand together with the people of Haiti, and with all displaced people. Across Oxfordshire churches will be hosting Big Brekkie events, taking part in sponsored walks, and collecting from house to house as a sign that together we are stronger than the storms.”

To support Christian Aid financially donate online at www.caweek.org or call 08080 006 006, or text ‘GIVE’ to 70040 to give £5. To lobby your MP click here.