Emergency Relief Projects
Over the past twelve months, Buddhist Global Relief provided $58,000 (representing approximately 10% of its annual budget) in emergency hunger relief to people stricken by war, conflict, droughts, floods and hurricanes. In total, fourteen grants, ranging from $1000 to $5000, were made to seven different organizations working in Myanmar, Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Sahel Africa, Puerto Rico, and the USA. Emergency grants are designed to bolster relief efforts in parts of the world where people face acute hunger or starvation due to man-made or natural disasters.
The biggest recipient of BGR aid was the World Food Programme (WFP), a branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest hunger relief and food security organization. BGR donated $14,000 to help feed the 886,000 Rohingya refugees who fled ethnic cleansing in Myanmar for camps in Bangladesh. BGR gave an addition $18,000 in support of WFP programs in Syria, Yemen, and Sudan, where nearly 24 million children, women, and men have been displaced by civil war and armed conflict.
The remainder of BGR’s emergency grants were made in response to natural disasters – earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, landslides, and drought. When Puerto Rico was devastated by two major hurricanes within weeks, killing an estimated 3,000 people and disrupting electrical service and transportation for much of the past year, BGR joined with Oxfam America to provide food aid o people living in parts of the island that are hard to reach.
BGR also partnered with Oxfam America to respond to the famine devastating the people of the Sahel region of Africa, where as many as 9 million people are at risk of starvation due to armed conflict, over-population, poor farming practices, and regional drought. In Karbala, India, where torrential rains resulted in the worse flooding in 100 years, killing over 400 people and putting thousands at risk of famine, cholera, typhoid and hepatitis, BGR supplied critical aid to Oxfam India in support of local relief efforts.
BGR and Helen Keller International (HKI) worked together to help familes in Vietnam recover from Tropical Storm Son-Tinh, which struck on July 14, unleashing heavy rains, damaging winds, flash floods, and deadly landslides. Flood waters submerged thousands of homes, washed away roads, killed livestock, and destroyed an estimated 200,000 acres of farmland and newly planted crops. With BGR’s help, HKI has already assisted 2000 families to replant crops and rebuild their homes and lives as more is being planned.
On August 25th, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake killed more than 98 people and displaced 20,000 from their homes on the island of Lombok, Indonesia. BGR reacted quickly by joining with Global Giving and its local partners to provide aid for food, water, and medicine, in addition to longer-term recovery assistance to help the hardest hit residents.
With ever increasing climate variability due to global warming coupled with other man-made disasters, such as war or armed conflict, BGR leadership anticipates that the need for emergency grants will grow precipitously. During August, 2018, alone, BGR gave out over $13,500 in one time emergency aid, all in response to disasters attributable to global warming or violence.
David Braughton is the vice-chair of Buddhist Global Relief. During his professional career he led a number of nonprofit agencies involved with mental health, trauma and child development.