As part of Mercy Relief’s (MR) endeavour to further understand the culture, psyche and resilience of disaster-prone communities in the region, so as to better serve them during post-disaster relief and pre-disaster risk mitigation efforts, MR organized a Seminar on ‘Natural Disasters and Humanity’ at The Pines on 21 May.

(Seminar speakers (from left) His Grace Archbishop Nicholas Chia, Venerable Master Chin Kung and Imam Habib Hasan al-Attas along with MR’s Director Satwant Singh who was the chairperson of the seminar.)

The last decade witnessed an increase in the occurrence of natural disasters in the region, with some bearing a lasting impact on the affected communities.  Humanity may be referred to as humankind with its psychological characteristics that all normal humans have in common which includes compassion, empathy, altruism, aggression and fear.

Amidst multi-faceted onslaughts of disaster, humanity is faced with daunting tribulations to cope, respond and reflect on its actions to manage nature’s fury.

Having served 20 Asian countries over the last 8 years, Singapore born-and-bred secular, non-governmental humanitarian outfit, Mercy Relief, noted that religion does influence the culture and psyche of communities.  As such, MR invited 3 distinguished speakers –His Grace Archbishop Nicholas Chia, Venerable Master Chin Kung and Imam Habib Hasan al-Attas – to share and enlighten on how Buddhism, Christianity and Islam interpret and embrace natural disasters, and how affected communities and their more fortunate neighbours should respond to these natural hazards and crises.

In his welcome address at the Seminar, MR’s Vice-Chairman Ong Bon Chai explained the impetus behind the Seminar, “We hope that this gathering of leaders and representatives from the various faiths and civic groups, with the common purpose of trying to understand each other’s beliefs, will be another step forward towards preserving the sanctity of humanity.”

While extending his appreciation to the 3 speakers for their presentations, Mr Ong added that “(he is) confident that we will all benefit greatly from the vast wisdom of our 3 speakers. The Seminar sets a definitive indication that as Singapore’s first people-initiated humanitarian organization, MR is stepping up its efforts to spread awareness on humanitarian work and the need for a collaborative effort from all social sectors and demographics to support humanitarian endeavours around the region.”

The Seminar which was initiated by MR as part of its humanitarian outreach effort was graced by Minister K Shanmugam who delivered the keynote address as the Guest of Honour. During the viewing of photographic exhibition, which showcased glimpses of the disasters that MR has responded to.

(Minister Shanmugam also met and congratulated the Singapore Polytechnic’s CD Lionhearters team on their recent volunteer stint at MR’s area of operations in Iwate Prefecture, Japan.) 

At the Event, MR received yet another boost for its aid efforts in Japan, receiving a cheque from Singapore’s youth-oriented fashion lifestyle company, Flesh Imp and its Japanese partner, Devil Robots, a popular Japanese toy design company. They raised SGD 10,000 through the collaborative sales of their limited edition specially designed T-shirts, named ‘Support Japan’ over a period of two months.

(Devil Robots presenting a cheque of SGD10,000 to MR’s Director Associate Professor Dr Fatimah Lateef and Vice-Chairman Ong Bon Chai.)

More than 200 leaders and representatives from the various faith; civic and governmental organizations, and diplomats from several embassies attended the Seminar.  The Seminar closed with an over-arching summary perspective on the topic by MR’s Director, Associate Professor Dr Fatimah Lateef.

About Mercy Relief

Mercy Relief is a Singaporean humanitarian organisation which engages in both disaster relief and sustainable development programmes. It was established in 2003 as an independent non-governmental humanitarian charity responding to the human tragedies in Asia. Mercy Relief’s aid programme focuses on providing timely and effective assistance to disaster-stricken communities and has maintained the delivery of emergency aid within 72 hours from the point of appeal for assistance.  

In the past 12 years, Mercy Relief has disbursed over S$32 million in aid across 40 disaster relief and 53 sustainable development initiatives. Mercy Relief has impacted an aggregate of 2 million lives in 24 countries and areas, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal,  Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Yemen.

For more information, you may call us at 6514 6322 or email corporateaffairs@mercyrelief.org