HOTLINE - week of March 21, 2011

Help for Japan underway; CWS welcomes new refugee reform bill; World Water Day March 22, 2011.

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Man pushing bicycle through rubble
A man pushes a bicycle through the rubble after the earthquake in Japan.
Photo: REUTERS/Damir Sagolj, courtesy www.alertnet.org

Help for Japan underway

With destruction described as the “worst since World War II,” Japan’s March 11 earthquake and resulting tsunami continue to take a toll.

Evacuation sites are now struggling to assist more than 460,000 people – not only survivors of the twofold natural disaster but also those evacuating areas near damaged nuclear reactors.

The most urgent evacuation site requests are for food, water, sanitation and electricity – as well as blankets and stoves, which are critical given the current cold and freezing temperatures in the affected regions. CWS is providing relief items available within the Asia/Pacific region.

CWS is focusing its emergency relief support on the northeastern Japan prefectures of Miyagi, Fukushima, Iwate, Ibaragi and Tochigi – assisting some 25,000 individuals at 100 evacuation sites.

CWS will provide more than $2.5 million in assistance, which will include ready-to-eat food, water or green tea, blankets, sanitation kits, batteries and fuel supplies. Our partner, the Japan Platform, is identifying and prioritizing critical needs and carrying out relief efforts through its members. CWS is also coordinating with Japanese organizations that have been involved in previous international ACT Alliance disaster responses.

Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts in Japan may be made online, sent to your denomination or to Church World Service. (Please specify Appeal #699-Y.)

Help Japan now...

 

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CWS welcomes new refugee reform bill

The Domestic Refugee Reform and Modernization Act of 2011 is “an enormous step forward to improving our nation’s refugee resettlement program,” according to  Erol Kekic, director of the CWS Immigration and Refugee Program. CWS is one of the 10 voluntary agencies working with the Department of State to resettle refugees in the U.S.

The bill, introduced March 15, would enable the Office of Refugee Resettlement to direct resources more effectively. It also calls for increased data collection on secondary migration, health and mental health issues, housing needs and long-term employment outcomes, as well as a Government Accountability Office report on the resettlement program overall.

“Every year, the United States welcomes refugees who have fled their homelands because of fear of persecution, terror, violence and even death,” says Kekic. The reforms outlined in the bill, he says, “will bring positive results not just to refugees resettled in the United States, but also to the communities welcoming and helping refugees adjust to their new homes.”

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World Water Day March 22, 2011

Initiated by the United Nations, International World Water Day is held annually to focus attention on the importance of safe, accessible water. CWS has made sustainable freshwater resources one of its top priorities, supporting community-managed programs and solutions that provide the water-related benefits of health, food security and improved livelihoods to those in poor, climate-challenged areas.
Learn more at www.churchworldservice.org/water.

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