In March of 2023, Cyclone Yaku caused devastation across northern Peru, with rains causing rivers to overflow and landslides adding to the loss of lives, homes, businesses, and schools. At least 71 people died, and more than 131,000 people were impacted. As the summer of 2023 continued, heavy rains continued to plague the country. By August, the Government reported 839,760 people needing humanitarian aid since the start of the rainy season in January. Of this group, 123,691 people have been rendered homeless, and 48,903 houses are reported destroyed or uninhabitable.
This summer’s rainy season in Nepal brought heavy rainfall, causing severe landslides in several districts. Villagers in the small town of Mehele were especially impacted from rains and slides at the beginning of July. More than 50 families were displaced from their homes and most crops were damaged or destroyed. Nazarene Compassionate Ministries in Nepal distributed food relief packs to almost all the families impacted in the area. Contents included essentials like rice, lentils, oil, and salt. Other distributions included tarps for shelter and soap.
“We had no clue what was going on and what we will do.”
With that simple statement, Tolik Galagan sums up the deep feelings of Ukrainians who were stunned when war broke out in their nation. It was February 24, 2022, and in Vapniarka, where Galagan leads the local Church of the Nazarene, confusion soon turned to fear and grief.
“The church was very panicked,” said Galagan. “Everybody was sad that tragedy came to our country.”
Marsha* is a sponsored 17-year-old girl in the Philippines. She’s overcome many challenges across the years, including her family losing their home when Super Typhoon Rai hit the nation at the end of 2021. The storm damaged or destroyed millions of houses, at least 16,000 schools, and 330 health clinics, eventually impacting close to 10 million people.
In Przemyśl, Poland, the global Church of the Nazarene has been responding since the onset of war in Ukraine.
When the war broke out, the first Nazarene responder at the Polish-Ukrainian border was a Syrian pastor, seeking ways to serve. Soon after, a team formed, putting out the call for volunteers to come and physically provide resources to the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing their homes.
On the outermost edge of Indonesia sits an island called Nias, a land that has suffered various blows from many natural disasters.
In Kentucky, Nazarene Disaster Relief volunteers continue to serve people impacted by the historic rains and flooding that in late July left 43 people dead across six counties.
On August 14, 2021, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake shook the lower peninsula of Haiti, affecting an area with more than 1.5 million residents.
On January 15, 2022, an underwater volcano near Tonga erupted with violent force. The eruption lasted approximately eight minutes, releasing a cloud of ash that billowed more than 20 kilometers high. The force of the eruption quickly caused a Pacific-wide tsunami, swamping coastlines and causing casualties and damage in Japan and Chile, with waves reaching as far as North America. Communication to Tonga was cut off for weeks. Three people were killed in the disaster.
When conflict erupted in Ukraine, the most vulnerable were forced to consider fleeing for safety. Many of the three million who have sought shelter outside of the country so far are mothers with children. Some of those mothers had plans for where to go—family they could visit or friends with space to share—but others are relying on the kindness of strangers across borders. In fleeing war, these millions have become refugees.