1999 NCC News ArchivesChurch World Service Responds To Turkey Earthquake With $500,000
August 27, 1999, NEW YORK CITY ---- Church World Service is seeking $500,000 from its member denominations to support long-term rehabilitation work in Turkey following last week's devastating earthquake.
With this appeal, CWS will support ecumenical efforts focusing on recovery and rehabilitation, particularly among those who are most vulnerable after such catastrophic events women, children, the elderly and those with disabilities. Long-term response will include providing material goods and building homes.
Meanwhile, the Rev. Dr. Rodney Page, Executive Director of CWS, is attending meetings in Washington, D.C. today with other heads of faith-based relief agencies and with Secretary of State Madeline Albright to report about the efforts of U.S. churches in Turkey relief work.
In his remarks at the meeting with Secretary of State Albright, Dr. Page said: "Church World Service and ecumenical partners in the U.S. and around the globe are responding with millions of dollars of assistance to meet basic needs. These gifts come in $2 and $3 from school children, major gifts from individuals, community groups, churches and corporations. I am pleased to announce today a remarkable gift of 2,000 Polartec blankets (valued at $30,000) from Malden Mills in Lawrence, MA. This is a special gift from a family-run mill and its employees that suffered a devastating fire in 1995, and from that experience are motivated to share so generously with people in need."
Dr. Page also outlined the CWS response to date, which includes:
- Committing an initial $250,000 for survivors of the Turkey earthquake, including $100,000 from the CWS Blanket Fund for bedding, tents and tarps. Church World Service made this response through the Christian Churches in Turkey Steering Committee for Disaster Relief. As part of this response, CWS has provided for the distribution of personal care items to families in the town of Adapazari.
- Of the $100,000, CWS has sent $50,000 to the International Federation of the Red Cross for tents and blankets.
- CWS is also supporting an anticipated appeal by the Action by Churches Together (ACT) International network for unmet needs in the region, and the assessments by the Middle East Conference of Churches (MECC), a CWS partner, are expected to be reflected in the ACT appeal. An ACT appeals officer has assisted ACT member churches and agencies this week to assess needs and possibilities for response at this stage.
- In addition to the $100,000 in CWS Blanket Funds, the following member denominations have pledged funds to the CWS response. These include the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), $100,000; the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), $25,000; the Church of the Brethren, $25,000; United Church of Christ, $25,000; the American Baptist Churches, $20,000, and the Reformed Church in America, $10,000.
- In addition, several personnel from the UCC and the PCUSA are engaged in providing health care and logistical help in the distribution of relief goods.
The official death toll following last week's earthquake in northwest Turkey rose above 13,000 this week, but reports estimate the final figure could reach 40,000 as more bodies are recovered. Some 200,000 remain homeless.
With winter approaching, housing is going to be among the most serious problems facing Turkey. Other concerns include a fear of possible health epidemics.
Eyewitnesses such as Mick McCain, a United Church of Christ missioner, report that "there is considerable order and dignity even among the rubble of lives and property. But, there is terrible sadness and an enormous task ahead."
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