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When life is turned upside down: supporting people made homeless by disasters

Disasters are forcing millions of people from their homes, leading to an increase in refugees and displaced people. Please pray with us.

By Agnes McGrane | 18 Jun 2021

Credit: Yusuf Wahil

Credit: Yusuf Wahil

When disasters, such as earthquakes, cyclones and floods strike, entire communities can be forced to flee. With homes and businesses often completely destroyed, lives are turned upside down, sometimes overnight. Around the world, Tearfund is working with local churches and partners to help people who have been affected by disasters. People like Annisa*.

When a 6.2 magnitude earthquake rocked Annisa’s home in Indonesia in January, she was nine months pregnant. The earthquake caused so much destruction that Annisa and her family were forced to flee and find safety in a camp for refugees and people who were now homeless.

Two days later, Annisa went into labour. Unable to get to a hospital, or access a midwife, she gave birth to a baby boy in the camp with the help of her husband and other family members.

Thank God the delivery went smoothly even without the help of a midwife,’ says Annisa.

A quick response

Caring for a newborn baby in a makeshift shelter, with very limited supplies and facilities, was a real challenge for Annisa.

After the earthquake, our local partner organisations were quick to respond and visited the camp where Annisa was staying. They were able to provide her, and hundreds of other people in the camps, with food, hygiene supplies, and other basic essentials.

‘Thank you for the relief given,’ says Annisa, who shared that she was particularly grateful for the food packages she received for her baby, which would enable him to get all the nutrients he needed.

Annisa and her newborn baby received a package of food and hygiene supplies from our local partner organisation in Indonesia. Credit: Yusuf Wahil. 

Annisa and her newborn baby received a package of food and hygiene supplies from our local partner organisation in Indonesia. Credit: Yusuf Wahil. 

Meeting the need

People who are already living in poverty are the ones who suffer most when disaster strikes, often losing everything they own. Millions of people, sometimes referred to as ‘climate refugees’, have been forced to leave their homes because of disasters. The United Nations estimates that there are now more people displaced by the climate crisis than by conflict.

‘We are seeing an increasing number of communities affected by extreme weather-related disasters. Some families are forced to flee their homes and then become vulnerable to various risks,’ says Sanjeev Bhanja, who oversees our disaster response work across Asia.

‘Our aim is to bring dignity to people who have had to leave everything behind, as well as give them hope for the future by helping them recover and rebuild their lives.’

Thanks to your support, Tearfund and our local partners are able to continue to respond quickly to disasters around the world. But with disasters becoming more common and more severe, we value your ongoing prayers as we meet the increasing needs.

Pray with us

  • Lift up people forced from their homes due to disasters. Pray that they will have the support they need to rebuild their lives.
  • Ask God to protect vulnerable communities, who are experiencing the brunt of the climate crisis. Pray for long-term solutions to limit the impact of weather-related disasters.
  • Pray for strength, wisdom and resources for our local partners, as they reach an increasing number of people affected by disasters.
*Name changed to protect identity.

Written by

Written by Agnes McGrane

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