For more than 40 years Afghanistan has been wracked by wars, civil strife, invasion and massive amounts of arms shipped in from outside forces. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, with high infant and maternal mortality rates, and millions of Afghans have been displaced as refugees over these many years. Today the country is again at a point of transition with great uncertainty about the future. Thousands of Afghans are seeking to flee violence and a fear of persecution. Roland Fernandes, general secretary of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR), expressed his sympathy for the Afghan people, stating: “The situation in Afghanistan is uncertain and unfolding. It is a tragedy of epic proportions. We pray especially for all of those left behind who now live in fear and for the many communities across Afghanistan also facing extended drought and hunger.”
Global Ministries and UMCOR have long-standing partners in Afghanistan, with projects and programs dating back to the mid-1960s. The work has been, and continues to be, in partnership with local Afghan communities, as well as with other humanitarian agencies concerned with health, community development and human rights. UMCOR is working with these partners to determine what assistance is most helpful at this time and the best avenue for ensuring humanitarian relief reaches the country. Through one project, UMCOR will provide cash assistance to displaced families residing in the Kabul area, enabling them to prioritize their most urgent needs such as food, shelter or medicine. Those interested in supporting UMCOR’s response in Afghanistan can make gifts online here.
UMCOR is also prepared to assist with refugee resettlement through its partnership with Church World Service and is currently in conversation about assisting Church World Service with temporary housing for Afghan refugees. Those interested in supporting the UMCOR-CWS partnership can do so online here.
"These last several months have been a powerful reminder that this great big world is smaller than it seems, and that we are citizens of a global community," states Bishop Mike Lowry, resident Bishop of the Central Texas Conference."What happens on the other side of the world can or on the other side of the street impacts us all and simply cannot be ignored. Our Lord Jesus lays before us the great commandment to love our neighbors...it is again our turn to reach out in the name of Christ. As UMCOR shares more on its plan to address the mounting needs, we’ll provide updates as to how the Central Texas Conference can support those efforts."