Arkansas and Oklahoma Floods Emergency Response

On Saturday June 22, 2019 UMR Emergency Response Coordinator and UMR Chapters Coordinator deployed to Arkansas along the border of Oklahoma in Fort Smith, Arkansas (Sebastian County). The most hard-hit areas of the state of Arkansas were in Fort Smith, Arkansas and then across the state line border of the state into Oklahoma into Seqoyah County.

Sunday June 23, 2019 both UMR Emergency Response Coordinator and UMR Chapters Coordinator visited a tornado storms and flood survivor identified through Crisis Clean-up in Fort Smith who suffered severe flooding at her residence. Ruth, a mother of four who is a house owner, was out of work for two weeks due to the flooding. She received a UMR disaster clean up kit, $200 cash card and direct help with an appeal for FEMA, SBA, a hazard mitigation grant information.

Monday June 24, 2019 The UMR team met with FEMA Disability Integration Advisor for Region VI in Little Rock Arkansas and discussed Disaster Survivor Assistance DSA, Arkansas Mass Care, and assisting with unmet needs of recipients in Arkansas. The UMR Chapters Coordinator received a crash course on DSA as both UMR Emergency Response Coordinator and UMR Chapters Coordinator use DSA as a template to access the needs of the tornado storms and flood survivors.

Tuesday June 25, 2019 the UMR team traveled to Moffet and Spiro, Oklahoma Seqoyah County and connected with Eight Days of Hope (a nonprofit organization that has been leading the way in gutting out homes that have been flooded). One household that they helped, UMR was able to follow up with and give a $200 cash card for food and transportation expenses, and set up assistance to replace a bed that was destroyed in the flood. Two additional families who were renting their homes were also identified through Crisis Clean-up, and given assistance with FEMA registration, provided $200 cash cards each for moving expenses, and furniture replacement. These three households in Oklahoma were all covered in over 10-15 feet of water and the homes were completely destroyed.

On Tuesday June 25, 2019, the UMR Emergency Response Coordinator and UMR Chapters Coordinator also met with The Disaster Emergency Team in Fort Smith, Arkansas to identify more unmet needs and arrange for a donation drop tomorrow at the United Way donation hub in Fort Smith, Arkansas that provides supplies, food, and resources to those in Fort Smith, Arkansas and nearby Oklahoma communities. UMR also met with Arkansas Department of Human Health Services to see if they had any families needing additional help getting food.

On Wednesday June 26, 2019 Robert (Ruth’s neighbor), is a retired husband and grandfather whose house suffered flood damage as well also received $200 cash card and direct help with an appeal for FEMA, SBA, an hazard mitigation grant information. The UMR team met with Sebastian County Emergency Management Director and delivered food, hygiene supplies, and special flood survival baskets for three families to the United Way donation hub in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

On June 27, 2019 follow up calls to tornado storms and flood survivors Paula, Raquia, and Ruth were made by the UMR Emergency Response Coordinator to secure their additional needs that could not be met in one day and required more research and follow-up with FEMA. UMR Emergency Response Coordinator, called contacts in FEMA in Oklahoma and got Paula and Raquia’s FEMA applications fast tracked to get them resources. Raquia lived in Oklahoma and was renting her place.  UMR Emergency Response Coordinator contacted FEMA Disability Integration Advisor in Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Finance and Housing Agency to help Raquia with rental and housing assistance.  For Paula, who owned a house in Spiro, Oklahoma UMR Emergency Response Coordinator, called FEMA Disability Integration Advisor in Oklahoma to assist Paula with her disabled nephew and getting her house inspected for housing assistance. Paula was also connected with Afermath Contractors to get a free inspection and estimate for repairs for her home. The UMR Emergency Response Coordinator contacted FEMA Disability Integration Advisor in Arkansas to follow up with Ruth mother of four who owned a home in Fort Smith, Arkansas and before speaking to UMR had her FEMA application denied. UMR Emergency Response Coordinator was able to help Ruth get an appeal for FEMA assistance and connected with SBA for a disaster housing Loan and hazard mitigation grant.

In total eight families were directly assisted during the deployment and about 20 families were given donations from UMR via the United Way donation hub. About $2,500 of aid, furniture, food, supplies, and toys was given out, two new community partners engaged, two local government agencies engaged, and federal agency partnership with FEMA.

National Days of Service

United Mission for Relief and Development

Designated as Lead Agency to Engage Youth on National Days of Service

Washington, DC United Mission for Relief and Development will serve as a Youth Service America Lead Agency, mobilizing young people to lead volunteer service projects that help meet community needs on 9/11 Day of Service & Remembrance (September 11, 2019) MLK Day of Service (January 20, 2020), and Global Youth Service Day (April 17-19, 2020). These three days are officially designated as National Days of Service by the 2009 Serve America Act.

With grant funding from The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service along with training and support from YSA (Youth Service America), UMR will build a culture in which all young people have the opportunity and support to find their voice, take action, and make an impact in their communities. As the official local organizers for these national days of service, Lead Agencies are a vital part of YSA’s work to activate all youth, ages 5-25 – especially those in under-served communities who aren’t usually asked to participate.

UMR will engage at least 1,500 youth volunteers and partner with 10 other community-based organizations and schools, including George Washington University, George Mason University, University of Delaware, and University of Houston. Guided by their young people, UMR and its coalition partners will organize large-scale community events, celebrations and community service projects on Global Youth Service Day.

“We are thrilled to partner with UMR and the thousands of young people who will serve and celebrate on these days of service,” said Steven A. Culbertson, President and CEO of YSA. “We’re currently leaving two-thirds of our young citizens out of actively participating in our democracy.  Volunteering is a gateway to a lifetime of civic participation and days of service are on-ramps to volunteering, especially for first-time volunteers.”

United Mission for Relief and Development (UMR) is a registered 501 (c)(3) nonprofit  organization based in Washington, DC.  UMR provides livelihood, disaster relief, and recovery services to the underserved.  UMR works domestically and internationally to ensure that people have access to clean water, to healthcare, and are able to earn a sustainable livelihood.

YSA (Youth Service America) believes that youth, communities, and democracy thrive when we all work together for the common good. YSA is a leading global nonprofit that activates young people, ages 5-25, to find their voice, take action, and acquire powerful civic and 21st Century skills as they solve problems facing their communities. YSA supports its activation campaigns – including 9/11 Day of Service, MLK Day of Service, and Global Youth Service Day – with grants, training & resources, and recognition programs for young people and their adult champions. Youth-led projects use Awareness, Service, Advocacy, and Philanthropy (ASAP) strategies to create social and environment change. For more information, visit

Honoring the history of September 11th by serving in your community helps transform 9/11 into a day of unity, empathy, and service as an enduring and positive tribute to those lost and injured on 9/11/01, and the many who rose in service in response to the attacks, including first responders, recovery workers, volunteers and members of our military.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is Monday, January 21, 2019. It is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off” – and is an opportunity for people from all walks of life to work together to help solve our most pressing problems. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, bridges barriers, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”

Celebrating 32 years of youth changing the world, Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is the largest youth service and civic action event in the world and the only one that celebrates and creates opportunities for all youth ages 5-25, their communities, and our democracy to thrive by working together for the common good.


Media Information

Sara Gallagher, Senior Programs Officer

UMR (United Mission for Relief and Development)

(202) 370-6963 x106 |

T:@umrelief | I: @umrelief | F: @umrelief | Website:


Katie Reusch, Director of Partnerships

YSA (Youth Service America) | (202) 650-5056

T: @YouthService | I: @YouthService | F: @YouthServiceAmerica

Cholera Emergency Response (Yemen)

Cholera Emergency Response in Hodeidah and Raymah Governorates

Funded by UMR & WHO

More than two years of intense conflict have exacted a heavy toll on Yemen’s health system and have impeding the proper functioning of its water and sanitation services. As such, the spread of diarrhoeal diseases has reached unprecedented levels; the World Health Organization reported in October 2017, there were over 815,000 suspected cases of cholera. The seriousness of this is underlined by the fact the only other major outbreak of cholera since 1949 (the humanitarian crisis following the Haiti earthquake in 2010) recorded a similar number of cases over a seven year period – Yemen has managed to surpass this in six months. Worst affected by cholera and other waterborne illnesses are the country’s most vulnerable. According to Save the Children, 60% of the cases involve children. With little to no resources for public health departments and sanitation workers, the ability of Yemen to both prevent and fight the disease is greatly weakened.

In partnership with WHO, HA, the project aims to improve access to cholera treatment through the establishment of 5 cholera treatment centers (CTCs) and 34 oral rehydration centers (ORCs) to reduce the spread and limit the overall mortality rate of cholera in the targeted communities & districts of Al Hodeidah and Raymah Governorates in Yemen.

Water Source Rehabilitation (Somalia)

The water crisis is a severe issue in Somalia with just 45% of Somalis having access to sufficient water sources. 75% of the population don’t have access to improved sanitation or hygiene practices, which can lead to diseases such as cholera among women and children 5 . Below average rainfall in 2016 paired with El Nino-induced weather extremes which had a serious impact on the livelihoods, as well as the food and water systems, across the Horn of Africa. The water shortage led to a humanitarian crisis in these countries, including Somalia. UMR WASH Project focuses on improving the availability of clean water and sanitation to 2,500 vulnerable households located in IDP camps and host communities in the Gedo Region, Somalia.

This program will be achieved through the rehabilitation of existing water sources, providing water treatment systems and the provision of adequate hygiene facilities including latrines. Hygiene promotion sessions will also be carried out by trained hygiene promoters to push for positive behavioral change.

UMR is constructing water wells in remote areas of Somalia. Oftentimes, women and children are forced to walk for miles through unsafe areas each day in search of clean water.

Once the water wells are fully constructed, clean water will be made available to hundreds of people who otherwise did not have access. Thank you to our wonderful donors who made this possible.

UMR School

Through donor-led capacity development, UMR is dedicated to identifying and filling the gaps in education aid. Our goal is to increase the technical skills and expertise of our beneficiaries by delivering and administering education, both in the classroom and in the education ministry – a key part of a more systemic approach to improving education.

This low enrollment mainly attributes to absence of access to education at all levels. In partnership with KELEM, we successfully constructed a school with five classrooms, provided short term training for teachers, delivered scholastic materials to ensure effective teaching-learning processes, and conducted WASH training to teachers, staff and students. This school is the first of its kind in its community and supports more than 200 beneficiaries per year.

In 2016, our major education campaign was the Creating Sustainable Access to Quality Education Facilities for Drought Affected Pastoralist School Children in the Afar region of Ethiopia. The Afar region has one of the lowest education net enrollment ratios (NER) at 32%, far below the national average of 85%. More rural and remote Woredas within Afar have an even lower NER of 20% (Ministry of Education (MoE), 2011).

The existing poor access to education combined with the drought facing the pastoralist has severely affected the teaching learning activities. Tens of thousands of students are already out of school due to lack of access to education and majority of students who were attending their education have already dropped out of their school due the effect of drought. Continued and unresolved lack of access to water has aggravated the problem. School aged and enrolled female students are forced to miss class and drop out of school to fetch water from a very distant place. Sometimes the distance takes a whole day on foot travel for round trip highly affecting the participation of girls in education.

Medical Shipments

UMR boasts a strong medical gifts-in-kind supply chain. We work with private medical providers to procure medical supplies ranging from disposables such as gloves, bandages, and prescription medications to equipment critical to the success of a healthcare institution such as x-ray and ultrasound machines. This is a critical tool for capacity building of hospitals as it frees up monetary resources to hire new doctors and reduce the cost burden on patients.

UMR has provided medical shipments containing life-saving medicine and supplies to Yemen, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Jordan and Lebanon, and continues to send containers to countries in need.

MENA Youth in Humanitarian Action

MENA Youth in Humanitarian Action is a coalition of nonprofit organizations active in the United Nations. Young people are chosen to participate through a rigorous application process and undergo a three-day training on what it means to engage with philanthropy. Post training, students carry out service projects either through a nonprofit organization or in their host community.

The MENA Youth in Humanitarian Action operates with the aim to:

  • Foster an inclusive and participatory space for young people
  • Link humanitarian action to emerging concepts like social innovation
  • Provide young people with an international platform to share their experiences with volunteerism

Ambulatory Clinics (Rohingya)

UMR works with its partner IMANA to provide ambulatory medical care to Rohingya refugees seeking safety in Cox Bazaar-currently the largest refugee camp in the world. We are currently one of very few medical teams authorized by the Bangladeshi government, which allows us to treat young children who would otherwise stuffer from easily preventable diseases such as the flu which are lethal in camp settings. We coordinate with Bangladeshi NGOs for medical staff and logistics support to gain access to the internal parts of the camp. This project is coordinated in conjunction with UN health cluster meetings and volunteers physicians contracted through IMANA.

This project has been running since 2017 and served over 40,000 patients.

Charitable Bakeries (Yemen)

Charity Bakery – UMR, working with local on the ground partners, has completed the construction of one Charity Bakery in Aden. Construction has begun for another bakery in Hodeidah with planned expansion to Taiz and Al-Jawf. Ingredients are procured locally to provide food insecure families with basic staples in their diet. Families of concern are provided with voucher tickets which are brought to the bakery in exchange for loaves of bread. The project aims to serve 750 conflict and malnutrition affected families in 2019. Conflict in Yemen has left 15.9 million people- 53% of the population- severely food insecure. Security concerns have left international organizations unable to reach aid recipients which highlights the need to procure as many foodstuffs and ingredients as possible from local sources.

UMR continues to leverage fluid on the ground networks to reach families who lack the basic means to survive and ensure that lack of funds, conflict, or location do not stop people from accessing food.

Youth Emergency Preparedness Workshop

UMR Chapter youth members between the ages of 18-24 get trained on emergency preparedness and are equipped with resources to know what to do in the case of an emergency. They learn how to create emergency plans and emergency kits, and upon completion of their training get certified in UMR’s Emergency Preparedness Program, making them eligible to volunteer in a limited capacity for emergency response on behalf of UMR.

Each young person is given a pre-test to gauge their knowledge base as well as a post-test to once their training is complete.