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CWS SAVING, REBUILDING LIVES OF INDONESIA’S 1.2 MILLION DISPLACED

May 11, 2001, NEW YORK CITY -- Large areas of Indonesia, the world’s fourth largest country, are caught in an unparalleled complex disaster, with some 1.2 million Indonesians displaced by the double blow of an economic crisis and political upheaval.

More than half of those displaced have been forced from their communities by interreligious/interethnic conflict in the Maluku archipelago. Others have been uprooted by the independence struggle in Aceh, ethnic conflict in West Kalimantan and interreligious violence in Central Sulawesi. In West Timor, some 100,000 East Timorese remain displaced, according to the latest estimates.

There is little hope that displaced people living in camps or with host families will be leaving anytime soon. Assistance will be needed over an extended period.

Church World Service Indonesia, operational for more than three decades, already is responding to the crisis in several parts of Indonesia.

Since the Asian economic crisis struck Indonesia in 1997, CWS has been implementing food-for-work programs principally in Sulawesi but also in Central and Eastern Java, Lomback and Nusa Tengara Timur with a total of $6.4 million in funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Additional assistance has gone to East and West Timor and the Malukus.

Now CWS is launching a new, comprehensive program of assistance, aimed at saving lives and rebuilding livelihoods of internally displaced Indonesians and expanding and intensifying its ongoing assistance to displaced people.

The new, $1,437,000 program includes emergency food, shelter, water and sanitation; improvement of public health services including AIDS prevention and education; mental health and psycho-social counseling, and small business workshops and support for income-generating activities at the household level.

It also includes training in emergency disaster management, conflict resolution training and capacity building, with activities bringing together different religious and ethnic groups, engagement of local civic and religious leaders and strengthening of interfaith committees.

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