Press Release from AME Social Action Committee : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread


FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker 213/ 494-9493


(Los Angeles) Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry, chairperson of the Social Action Commission of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) announces the church’s campaign to provide relief to two of the tsunami-damaged countries on the Indian Ocean.

The low death toll in Kenya, Tanzania and Somalia is a poor indicator of the devastation brought by the tidal waves, which destroyed the infrastructures of local coastal communities, and the livelihoods of many who barely earned subsistence wages. Mandatory evacuation of beaches and coastal areas was possible because of the emergency plan of the US Embassy and the government of these countries.

The reporting outcome follows - In Somalia more than 200 persons lost their lives and another 50,000 had their homes destroyed (flattened). In Kenya, the loss of public roads, destruction of homes, and the difficulties of traveling have resulted in a major strain to an economy that could not support the basic needs of its people. Reconstruction needs will be far reaching, and costly.

Our church’s commitment to “make a difference” will include the collection of funds and other resources to be distributed via SADA, the international relief and development arm of the AME Church. Please remember the local residents and visitors in your prayers.

The public is invited to send its contributions and to: Dr. Robert Nicolas, Director 202/ 371-8722 – voice SADA (Service and Development Agency) 202/ 371-0981 - fax 1134 11th Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

Make checks payable to: Make checks payable to: AME-SADA or call Ms. Tina Newell (Director of Operations) 202 371-8722 to make a donation by credit card.

For more information call 202/ 371-8722 or log onto

-- Anonymous, January 12, 2005


Why is the Social Action Committee focusing its efforts on the "Horn of Africa" nations? The enormity of the devastation is concentrated around those Asian nations near the epicenter of the earthquake (Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia). Are those survivors not worthy of our help? A true humanitarian response to devastation should NOT be geographically selective in deciding upon who we should help. QED

-- Anonymous, January 12, 2005

Bro. Dickens,

Bishop Bryant spoke to the Southern California Conference Ministerial Alliance on this past Sunday on this issue. According to the Bishops of the church, almost none of the money pledged to Tsunami relief is earmarked for the African nations that were affected. Moreover, they feel that there is a serious misreporting of the damage in Africa.

-- Anonymous, January 12, 2005

Parson Cager -

Thanks for your courteous reply. You state:

"Bishop Bryant spoke to the Southern California Conference Ministerial Alliance on this past Sunday on this issue. According to the Bishops of the church, almost none of the money pledged to Tsunami relief is earmarked for the African nations that were affected."

Bishop Bryant and the ministerial allegiance appear to be misinformed about relief efforts targeted for Somalia. Furthermore, civil unrest in Mogadishu complicate efforts to reach those in need. The article below from the Sacremento Bee newspaper provides information about current relief efforts underway in this particular African country. QED

Somalia seeking aid for 50,000 victims By RODRIQUE NGOWI, Associated Press Writer Published 10:03 am PST Monday, January 3, 2005 NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - At least 50,000 people in Somalia urgently need food, water, shelter and medical care a week after deadly tsunamis slammed African shores, officials said Monday. Some 24 countries, including the United States, have pledged to send relief supplies to Somalia, but nothing has arrived on the ground, said Somali presidential spokesman Yusuf Mohamed Ismail. He said survivors urgently need help after losing their homes and livelihoods.

"We are very happy that relief supplies have arrived in Asia, which was hit the hardest by the tragedy, but Somalia - which has been ravaged from a 13-year civil war, drought and political neglect - also needs emergency help to deal with the latest calamity," Yusuf told The Associated Press.

At least 200 people were killed and many others are missing after violent waves hammered the Somali coast on Dec. 26, Yusuf said.

Some of those affected have begun receiving food aid from United Nations agencies that diverted supplies intended for Somalis suffering from a four-year drought, Yusuf and U.N. officials said.

But Kazimiro Rudolf, acting head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said those supplies need to be restored to the drought-relief program.

The latest U.N. assessment showed that some 54,000 people in the country were badly affected by the tsunami, Rudolf said.

Most of the victims are from the Indian Ocean coastline of the semiautonomous region of Puntland, including the northeastern Hafun island that was hardest hit by the tsunami.

The waves were triggered by the undersea quake centered off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, about 2,800 miles across the Indian Ocean.

The tsunami hit during fishing season, when Somalis set up temporary fishing settlements closer to the coast, Rudolf told the AP.

They lost fishing equipment, personal belongings and livelihoods. The few cattle herders along the coast have also been affected as their grazing has now been partly damaged, said Laura Melo, spokeswoman of the U.N. food aid agency.

All fishery activities along the Somalia coast seem to have been suspended, Melo said.

Members of the Somali community abroad are raising funds to help compatriots affected by the deadly waves, Yusuf said.

Unlike other affected countries in Asia, Somalia lacks the capacity to assess the damage.

The U.N. food aid agency has sent out four teams to assess humanitarian need and distribute aid to Somalis affected by the waves, Melo said.

The presence of large numbers of anti-aircraft guns owned by local warlords prevented U.N. officials from flying over parts of the Somali coastline to assess the damage in those areas last week.

-- Anonymous, January 12, 2005

Bro. Dickens,

"Bishop Bryant and the ministerial allegiance appear to be misinformed about relief efforts targeted for Somalia."

Please forgive me for 'excessive discretion' in failing to question the depth of Bishop Bryant's research in front of some 300 people (including a visiting Bishop, several Presiding Elders and a few dozen ministers)!

Actually, their press release contains the very information that you cited in the news article, so I think the only point of dispute is on if/why East Africa is not getting a proportionate share of aid and attention. NPR aired a segment on 1-7-05 that discussed all of the issues in depth. storyId=4273825

-- Anonymous, January 12, 2005

Two weeks ago I sent an email to Bishop Bryant and other ame bishops. I also sent an email to Bishop Thomas Hoyt the president of the National Council of Churches, about the lack of media coverage of countries in africa also being hit by the tsunami.

I am proud that our bishops and denomination are responding and issuing awareness of the problem in somalia, tanzania, and kenya.

As christians God calls us to love all people. But if you ask the average person where the tsunami hit, they will be hard pressed to mention countries in Africa.

The front page story of the ame herald includes info from united nation reports that support statements of Bishop Bryant and Bishop Guidry.

I have also asked the president of the national council of churches to ask the other historically black denominations, cme, ame zion, baptist, union methodist, COIG etc. to do something for victims in Africa.

We as A.M.E.'s are in a position to help those who people are unaware. Let us not squabble over words in a press release when so many are hurting. Let us commend our denomination for seeing where there is a need and acting on it.

We as humanity need to come together and show the face of Christ who need help.

-- Anonymous, January 12, 2005

Parson Cager -

I suspect the most compelling contributing factor for less attention directed at the Horn of Africa nations affected by the Asian Tsunami is due to a significantly higher death toll estimated in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia compared to Somalia and Tanzania. Does that mean the "Horn" is less important and not warranting help. Absolutely not. The allocation of international aid resources is always a function of perceived need. I have friends who work for the Dept. of State and I'm certain all countries impacted by the killer waves will be helped. Secretary Powell will see to it. My comments about targeted relief efforts are not intended to mean that no such help should be made to Somalia only that such help should be inclusive of all who were victimized by this environmental tragedy. I do not find much value in geographic targeting when we are witnessing such large-scale suffering. Nonetheless, I will do my part by sending donations to my local Red Cross. One thing is certain efforts to bring relief aid to poverty-stricken and war- ravaged Somalia will require much prayer given the presence of Somalian war-lords. QED

-- Anonymous, January 12, 2005

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