Highlighting Resilience: ADRA’s Emergency Response Efforts in 2023

It’s been reported that global fatalities have increased in 2023 by 30% compared to the previous year due to floods, wildfires, cyclones, storms, landslides, and other disasters. ADRA has been on the frontlines helping communities worldwide who are grappling with the aftermath of disasters and emergencies. 

In 2023, ADRA responded to various emergencies in Ukraine, Morocco, Tanzania, Mexico, and several other countries. Thanks to the generosity and compassion of our donors and partners, here are a few of our relief efforts that were made possible. 

War continues in Ukraine 

Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war in February 2022, more than 8 million people have fled Ukraine, and 18 million people within the country need humanitarian assistance. Since the beginning of this war, ADRA has helped provide evacuations, shelter, food, water, hygiene kits, clothing, financial support, and so much more.  

When the dam at Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant was destroyed this year by an explosion, more than 700,000 were severely affected by the flooding. The people lost their homes and ultimately, access to clean drinking water. ADRA immediately provided evacuation assistance, temporary shelter, and clean drinking water, while working on implementing water treatment equipment for the community to manage the long-term impact of the explosion.  

When power outages occur during the war due to an explosion or other circumstances, it is extremely difficult for medical institutions to have access to consistent electricity for their life-saving equipment and heat during the cold winters. This winter, ADRA was able to provide generators for two medical institutions in Kharkvi. Now doctors have the resources they need to continue saving lives. 

When war is an everyday reality, people are living through high-stress and traumatic experiences that take a toll on people’s overall health, including their mental health. ADRA has helped men, women, and children access healthcare professionals and get the mental health support they need during the war. Olesia is one of the many people who benefited from ADRA’s program in Ukraine. Her elderly parents’ mental health condition was deteriorating significantly and she was doing her best to help them manage their condition, but she still needed help and applied for ADRA’s psychological support program.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude, this this charitable support is much needed amidst the war in our country. There is a lot of stress and tension, but when you have a feeling that someone abroad cares about your moral, mental, and physical conditions, it inspires and gives people enough strength to move on, as has happened in my family’s case.” – Olesia 

6.8M Earthquake Hits Morocco

At the beginning of September, a fatal 6.8M earthquake and its multiple aftershocks killed more than 2,900 people and left over 300,00 individuals displaced. 

ADRA helped by providing 150 goats to 30 families in Morocco’s earthquake-affected Atlas region. With each goat valued at approximately 10,000 euros, this effort aims to revive the economic well-being of these communities, specifically in goat farming, milk, and cheese production. The families residing in remote areas received five goats each— one male and five females—along with food to sustain them during the upcoming winter months. 

With many of the homes destroyed, ADRA funded the construction of eight shelters in Morocco for earthquake-affected families. Collaborating with a local nonprofit, the project provides temporary housing for 32 families. Each modular house includes four bedrooms, latrines, showers, and a communal kitchen. These resilient shelters offer good thermal insulation, accommodating families throughout winter while the mid-term housing is built. 

ADRA also distributed cattle to support those whose livelihoods were destroyed by the earthquake, as well as started a skill-building program to empower the youth as active contributors in their community. Through engaging the community and providing sustainable approaches, we were able to foster resilience and self-sufficiency in the earthquake-affected communities.  

COVID-19 in Tanzania and other Countries 

In 2023, Africa experienced a significant impact from COVID-19, with a total of 10.8 million cases and 228,738 deaths reported across the continent. Tanzania is one of the affected countries that benefited from ADRA’s efforts to raise awareness and educate communities about preventive measures against the virus. Recognizing the concerns and misconceptions prevalent among populations, ADRA remains committed to supporting communities in Tanzania by providing essential resources and information to help them stay informed and protected.

“With the support of the government opened to COVID-19 prevention methods, ADRA has been working in Tanzania on COVID-19 response efforts focusing on the most marginalized groups, including children, business owners, and people with Albinism,” says Sam Oyortey, country director for ADRA in Tanzania. 

As of December 2023, ADRA’s primary objective is to promote positive behaviors about COVID-19 prevention. This includes initiatives to foster ways to be aware of COVID-19 and how to prevent it. ADRA aims to distribute 7,000 informative materials across public schools and markets to help raise awareness and understanding of COVID-19 prevention measures within these communities.

Hurricane Otis Strikes Mexico Near Acapulco

On October 25, Hurricane Otis destroyed over 270,000 homes, over 400 hotels in the tourist area, and at least 120 clinics and hospitals on the southern Pacific coast of Mexico.  According to UN agencies, more than 1 million people, including 300,000 children need humanitarian aid.

“This tragedy has shattered the lives of some of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the State of Guerrero…Power outages and phone service disruptions affected a significant portion of the population. Since our arrival, our satellite internet service has brought peace of mind to hundreds of families who had lost complete contact with their loved ones,” shares Rubén Ponce ADRA’s country director for Mexico

By providing free satellite internet services, ADRA bridged the digital gap and helped loved ones reconnect post-disaster. While the local government provided food, water, fuel, and other essential items, ADRA complimented their response by providing in other areas. ADRA provided cash assistance for families in poverty and deployed mobile clinics with specialized medical care, in partnership with UNICEF, to ensure that no one was left behind.

At the heart of this monumental effort lies ADRA Mexico’s dedicated Emergency Response Team. With just five members, they responded with the help of local volunteers to deliver aid where it was needed most. Their presence in the region ensured a swift and coordinated response, standing as a pillar of strength for communities grappling with the aftermath of disaster.

Extreme droughts in the Horn of Africa 

The Horn of Africa is experiencing the worst drought in over 40 years and is considered one of the worst climate-related crises today.  It’s reported that over 36 million people need food and humanitarian aid and that severe hunger will worsen. Beatrice is one of the millions of people in the area affected by this crisis. 

Beatrice lives in Kenya with her husband and eight children, and they rely on farming for their livelihood. With the absence of rainfall, her husband ventures out early each morning in search of odd jobs within the village to earn money. Some days, he manages to earn 400KS ($3), while other days yield no income at all. Meanwhile, she manages the household duties, preparing the children for school and tending to chores until dinner time. 

ADRA helped her and her family by providing emergency food voucher distribution, which streamlined the process through text notifications and simplified choices with visual aids at the shop.

“We were so grateful for the food,” Beatrice explained. She was able to use her husband’s earnings to pay the overdue school fees for her children.

 This drought has endangered all parts of life across Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Sudan–people’s livelihoods, health, and access to education otherwise essentials. 

“ADRA’s approach to the water shortages and famine crisis is integrating immediate and durable drought mitigation strategies across affected communities to build resilience. We are taking a multi-sectoral approach in each country, prioritizing food security, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), education, health, and livelihoods,” said Peter Delhove, executive director for ADRA International’s Africa Region

Currently, ADRA is promoting sustainable farming by training communities with climate-smart agriculture techniques and providing drought-resistant seeds for families to grow crops; implementing on-site school feeding programs to combat malnutrition and encourage student attendance; and providing multipurpose cash assistance for families to buy the essentials their families need to survive the drought.   

As we reflect on the challenges millions faced in 2023 due to natural disasters, conflicts, and other emergencies, we continue to be inspired by the resilience shown by communities worldwide and the generosity of our donors, partners, and volunteers. One thing remains abundantly clear: the power of compassion and collective action knows no bounds. 

With your support, ADRA’s mission to serve humanity so all may live as God intended will continue in 2024 and beyond. Visit our Emergency Impact page to learn more about how you can contribute to our emergency response efforts and make a meaningful impact in the lives of those in need. Every donation counts, and with your help, we can make a difference in 2024 and beyond.

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About ADRA

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. ADRA’s purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended.

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