1998 NCC News Archives

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CWS Responds to Floods, Drought in Three Devastated Areas

Who We Are

CWS works in more than 70 countries, including the U.S., in disaster relief, human development and refugee assistance. It is a ministry of the National Council of Churches, which includes 34 Protestant and Orthodox member communions with a combined membership of nearly 52 million.

How to Help

CHURCH WORLD SERVICE, Attn: #976309, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. Phone pledges or credit card donations: 1-800-762-0968.

NEW YORK, Aug. 6, 1998 ---- Church World Service (CWS) is joining with ecumenical partners to help meet needs on three continents, responding to flooding in Tajikistan and Bangladesh and to drought in northeastern Brazil. CWS is supporting three recent appeals by ACT (Action by Churches Together) addressing the needs brought about by severe weather conditions as follows:

The climatic changes of "El Nino" have exacerbated the severe drought in northeastern Brazil, where some 10 million people are affected. The drought has resulted in 80 percent agricultural losses in some areas. ACT members Coordenadoria Ecumenica de Servico (ACT/CESE) and KOINONIA Presenca Ecumenica e Servico (ACT/KOINONIA) have requested ACT funding for an eight-month project to provide emergency assistance including water, cisterns, food, seeds, agricultural tools, and food-producing animals to more than 11,000 vulnerable families. The aim is to provide long-term water and food security. The ACT appeal totals $1,074,536 and CWS is seeking to raise $50,000.

In Bangladesh, the monsoon season is once again causing death, suffering and destruction. Torrential rain has caused flash floods and new floods have created further problems. Some 350 people have died and about 30,000 people are at risk for dysentery. ACT members in Bangladesh include the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB), a long-time CWS partner; Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS); Koinonia; Social Health & Education Development (SHED) Board; and The Church of Bangladesh Social Development Programmes (CoB). They are requesting three-month projects to provide basic food and non-food items, and some repairs to houses and infrastructure to enable the most vulnerable to survive the current crisis. The ACT Appeal totals $342,745. CWS is asking its member denominations for $20,000.

Heavy snowfalls and rains in April caused a series of avalanches, floods and landslides in the eastern and central parts of Tajikistan that destroyed villages, dikes, canals and reservoirs. Some 7,115 structures were damaged, 704 of them completely destroyed. The Russian Orthodox Church and ACT member Hungarian Interchurch Aid are requesting ACT support to provide rehabilitation and continuing relief assistance to vulnerable flood survivors, including widows and orphans. Local emergency response capacity-building courses are also planned. The six month programs will distribute food, cleaning supplies and clothing to some 3,000 people, as well as construction materials to 480 people, including Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Russians, both Christians and Moslems. ACT has appealed for $661,976 and CWS has a goal of raising $20,000.


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