by Carol Froom

“The typhoon has washed away our homes and crops ...” “An earthquake has struck, and there are so many homeless, sick and injured ...” “Drought-affected people have shown up at our program … they need food quickly …”

No one knows when a crisis will strike, yet each year ERDO staff review and update our crisis response planning. We plan how we’ll organize our staff and raise the necessary financial resources to respond each year, not knowing whether there will be multiple smaller-scale crises or one massive crisis requiring years of attention. 

“The typhoon has washed away our homes and crops ...”

“An earthquake has struck, and there are so many homeless, sick and injured ...”

“Drought-affected people have shown up at our program … they need food quickly …”


These are just some of the situations that ERDO responds to. The call for help can come at any time of day, and the scale of the emergency can either land it at the forefront of the media or be so small and isolated that it isn’t deemed significant enough for the news to cover. Whether large or small, if ERDO is able to help, we are there working on your behalf to serve people in need.

David Adcock, ERDO’s chief executive officer, reflected on some of the emergencies ERDO has assisted with during his leadership. “Every year has been different as far as the scale and magnitude of need. In 2010, the largest catastrophe was the Haiti earthquake. I remember feeling like the world caught its breath and stopped. All of our conversations and resources were focused on providing assistance. It was overwhelming at times, but our prayers for the PAOC family to support in both the short and long term were answered.”

Adcock continued, “The country of Haiti today is very different from the days and weeks after the earthquake, yet years later ERDO is still coming alongside local churches to assist with their community development ministries. Blair Colliver, ERDO’s director of International Programs, was in Haiti for the four-year anniversary of the earthquake and was then back again in April of this year. Some of the projects he’s followed up on involve conservation agriculture and clean water programs.”

After such an intense year of crisis response with the 2010 Haitian earthquake relief effort, 2011 was busy with a variety of activities that ran in tandem with our work in Haiti.    

In 2011, the Horn of Africa/East Africa famine, the Japan earthquake, and a Bangladesh cold wave were our focus. The cold wave was a serious situation that claimed lives, but given the nature of the crisis, it required a rapid and shorter response. Responses to famine or natural disasters have a much longer timeline, requiring ERDO to refocus our attention from other community development projects and instead raise the necessary resources to save lives.

Crisis response in 2012 continued to provide food in Eastern Africa, and then into Western Africa during the Sahel crisis. The Sahel is the region crossing through eight countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal) in West Africa which forms a barrier between the Sahara Desert and the rest of Africa. Crops had failed and food was very scarce across the Sahel region in 2012, leaving 15 million people—including at least one million children below the age of five—at risk of malnutrition.  

David Adcock reflected on the needs he heard about and saw through the reports of our PAOC global workers and partners: “Whenever I take those calls for help from our colleagues on the field, I take the time to pray with them—for their strength and insight, and their ability to do what needs to be done in the face of chaos. They are the extension of our family and are looking into the eyes of the people who so desperately need help. We do what we can to support them emotionally, spiritually, and then with the resources we raise from churches across our Fellowship. In contacting PAOC churches, I am so grateful for the encouragement that’s given to ERDO and the financial resources that follow from caring congregations who are hearing the crisis reports from their pastors. There’s this giant web of connection—the mother in need half a world away, and a mother somewhere in Canada who hears about the need through the support of her church and the church leadership. Working together, the woman in such a desperate situation is honoured and blessed through Canadian financial resources and the support of her local church, which often assists in the delivery of aid.”

Crisis response in 2013 continued with emergency food in Kenya, food for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, emergency kits for flood victims in Pakistan and, at the end of the year, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

In 2014, ERDO responded to the well-publicized needs of people affected by conflicts in Ukraine, Northern Iraq and Southern Sudan. The Ebola outbreak, which also captured the world’s attention, was a crisis that ERDO responded to with food and medical supplies in the countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia. Flooding in Russia and Bangladesh, on the contrary, barely made it onto the media’s radar, yet ERDO responded with care.

Says David, “Crisis comes at any time and never leaves us completely. In those moments of darkness, ERDO, through the churches in Canada and our on-field partnerships, works together to bring the light and love of Christ to people in need.” 

ERDO (Emergency Relief & Development Overseas) is the humanitarian agency of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. ERDO is involved in four key areas: Crisis Response, Food Assistance, ChildCARE Plus (Child Sponsorship), and Community Development. Carol Froom is the director of Resource Development. Donations for crisis response are always appreciated to prepare for the next disaster:

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