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1999 NCC News Archives

Church World Service Responds To Turkey Earthquake With $500,000
CWS Director Attending Washington, D.C. Meetings about Relief Efforts

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:

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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