HOTLINE - week of October 4, 2010

As floodwaters recede in parts of Pakistan, CWS continues to assist families in need; Indigenous young people in South America's Chaco on the path to assist their communities; Tropical Storm Matthew brings flooding to parts of Central America.

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Children living in tents
Pakistan--Flood-displaced who are children living with their families in CWS-provided tents in Sindh Province.
Photo:  CWS

Pakistan

As floodwaters recede in some parts of Pakistan, CWS continues to assist families in need.

Many families continue to live under open skies or in makeshift shelters, leaving them vulnerable to illness, poor weather, mosquitoes, snakes, and other threats.  

Jasma, 35, who recently received a CWS tent, says, “It has been two months, we do not have a home, now we have this tent.” She, her husband, and 8-year-old daughter anxiously wait to return to Jati Village once the floodwaters recede.

Some 100,000 people are benefiting from CWS-provided food, medical care, shelter, and access to safe drinking water.    

CWS is also planning for three Construction Trade Training Centers, cash-for-work projects, vouchers, and cash grants to help reestablish livelihoods for farmers. CWS also continues to provide preventive and curative health services for flood affected families. And, CWS health teams have conducted more than 300 health education sessions on issues related to personal hygiene, HIV & AIDS, skin infections, safe drinking water, sanitation, and local endemic diseases.

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Paraguay

Milner, an 18-year-old indigenous youth from the Gran Chaco region of Paraguay, has always liked going to school and learning new things. He went up to third grade in his own community, then walked four kilometers to another community where he went through the ninth grade.  After that, he felt that he “needed” to keep on studying, and asked his parents if he could go to Asunción to finish high school. He went to the city on his own with the little support his parents could provide, but he finished high school at the top of his class.

This year, with support from CWS’s Paraguayan partner in the Chaco Program, Committee of Churches for Emergency Assistance, CIPAE, Milner received a scholarship to go to law school at the University of the Chaco (UniChaco). His brother and two other young indigenous people, also with support from CIPAE and CWS, received scholarships from the Government of Venezuela to study medicine and agronomy.

Milner, his brother and other young indigenous university students formed a group, supported by CIPAE, with the goal of obtaining their university degrees and going back to work in their communities as lawyers, doctors, teachers and engineers.

Says Milner, “Our communities need their own professionals: lawyers who understand our historical land issues, doctors who live in our communities, know about our traditional medicine and can be there any time, teachers so children can keep on studying.”

CWS is assisting nearly 67,000 indigenous people of the Gran Chaco region of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay to gain rights to their traditional lands and develop livelihoods via training in sustainable agriculture, seed bank development, improved goat and hog raising, and heightened focus on education.

Central America

Thousands of people have been affected by flooding and landslides brought on by Tropical Storm Matthew. Earlier rains had already swelled streams and rivers, flooded crops and sent thousands into temporary shelters. At least 300 people in the region have been killed.

Nicaragua has been particularly hard hit, with some 255 communities in nine of 16 provinces in Nicaragua’s north, west and south having been affected.  Since May, 271,000 people have been affected by persistent rains.  There is concern for the region’s agriculture production and the affect on livelihoods and economies.

CWS is in contact with long-time Nicaraguan partner CEPAD, which is working to provide food for six weeks to 100 families in the municipality of San Francisco Libre, along Lake Managua.

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