The UMCOR Hotline for February 19, 2013

by UMCOR | | United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) - USA
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 21:10 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.


The north and east provinces of Sri Lanka were the most affected regions by the tsunami disaster which stuck some ten years ago. In addition, prolonged civil conflict resulted in irregular migration and multiple population displacements, as people searched for work opportunities and other means of survival.

Many women, children, men, and youth placed their lives at risk as they made the massive departure to Australia and other destinations, even though finding secure work was not a guarantee.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), with funding from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), is addressing the root cause of this migration by supporting livelihood development and vocational training programs that will develop social capital and increase income and employment opportunities in Sri Lanka.

By providing basic and advanced business skills training through established Village Livelihood Groups (VLGs) and creating awareness sessions on safe migration to reduce irregular maritime arrivals to Australia, communities in Kaluwanchikudy, Batticaloa District, will advance their capacity to grow and sustain their businesses, while also receiving business education for start-up opportunities.

You can support projects like this one in Sri Lanka with your gifts to Sustainable Recovery & Development, Advance #3021951.


This winter has seen eight storms blast through most of the central, southern, and northeastern United States. The storms caused bands of snow and sleet to fall, ice-encrusted trees to snap, power lines to fail, and more. While the US is not out of the snowy woods yet, flooding may be the next major concern.

UMCOR is in contact with affected annual conferences such as Eastern Pennsylvania, which experienced dramatic snowfalls and widespread power outages. UMCOR will provide assistance with debris cleanup after the snow and ice melts. Please pray for a smooth winter storm recovery, with restored power, restored business operations, and safe road travel.


Francesco Paganini is UMCOR’s executive secretary for International Disaster Response. He provides disaster-response program support to UMCOR partners, technical guidance, and support for disaster risk reduction programs.

“Working in International Disaster Response gives you fresh perspective on how people manage in very challenging situations,” says Paganini. “Over the years, I’ve increasing come to believe that, ultimately, resilience is found in empowering local entities to prepare for, mitigate, and respond to emergencies in their home communities. UMCOR is one of those agencies that walk and work directly with impacted peoples. The first voice we listen to is that of the people who know their needs best, the local community,” he continues.

Paganini’s experience ranges over a dozen countries and dozens of disasters. From post-conflict in northern Uganda, where he began his career, to Haiti immediately following the 2010 earthquake, Paganini has worked in some of the most challenging environments. He holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science and Journalism from the University of Arizona, a Masters in Public Administration from George Washington University, and a Masters in Science in Natural Resource Economics from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.


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Use this video to share the work of UMCOR as you support the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering observed on March 30. Supporting One Great Hour of Sharing makes it possible for UMCOR to use 100 percent of all other contributions on the projects you specify instead of on administrative or fundraising costs.