HOTLINE - week of April 4, 2011

CWS assistance continues in Japan; Migrant workers flee Libya amid violence; CWS health initiatives help flood survivors in Pakistan; World Health Day Clean water equals better health in western Kenya.

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Libya -- “For 20 days we had no food. Everything shut down,” said Faruk, a 31-year-old Bangladeshi construction worker, describing life in Libya before he could flee.
Photo: UNHCR/A.Branthwaite

CWS assistance in Japan

Some 10,000 people in Ishinomaki and Kesennuma cities, Miyagi prefecture, have received food, water, hygiene items, fuel and other emergency items, thanks to Church World Service in Japan. 

Your support helped CWS to provide emergency basic needs and services to those affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami – a disaster that may have killed some 28,000 people and displaced more than 300,000, who are now living in evacuation sites across Japan.

Among the thousands in Ishinomaki receiving help from CWS partners is Hideaki Aonuma, 33, who fled to higher ground when the tsunami came. “There were over 1,000 people on the hill where I escaped, and we stayed there for the whole night,” he says. “Then when I came to see my house one day later, houses were destroyed and all furniture was washed away.” Aonuma is now staying with other evacuees at an elementary school.

Such impromptu evacuation sites are hosts to scores of individuals in need of assistance, especially the elderly who can’t travel very far. As such, CWS and our Japanese partners plan to focus on these unofficial sites, as they can sometimes be overlooked.

Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts in Japan may be made online, sent to your denomination or to CWS.  Or, text CWS to 50555 to give $10.

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Migrant workers flee Libya

Libya has become a land of turmoil for the more than 376,000 people who have recently fled to Egypt, Tunisia and other nearby countries. Most of those fleeing are migrant workers, like Faruk, a Bangladeshi construction worker who spent his last 20 days in Libya unable to leave and unable to find food. “Everything shut down,” he says.

When they were able to leave, many did so with no money, no possessions and no hope of finding jobs when they return to their homelands.

Together with Egyptian groups providing help, CWS is helping meet basic needs of those who are able to return home. CWS-supported efforts include: a cash-for work-program for nearly 3,000 people; job creation – cleaning streets, painting schools, planting trees and other improvements that benefit communities. There is also a voucher system for people affected by the violence in Egypt – allowing 3,500 families to obtain food and other necessities; and a psycho-social program for vulnerable people in Egypt.

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A Pakistani man receives care and crutches from a CWS clinic.
Photo: CWS

Ongoing CWS health initiatives help at-risk individuals in Pakistan

Last summer’s massive flooding in Pakistan caused widespread destruction not only to homes and businesses but also to the country’s health infrastructure and services.

Sadia, a young mother of four in Segram, says that even when she was fortunate enough to have a little money, her only option was to visit what she called “a quack doctor” who charged unreasonably high rates for consultations and medicines.

Lack of access to medical care is typical in Pakistan. CWS health centers and mobile clinics are delivering vital health services to distressed families like Sadia’s. “Now,” she says, “I can receive proper care for my children and myself.”  

CWS’s mobile health facilities feature three rooms fully equipped with medicines, medical supplies, equipment and attached washrooms. Stationary and mobile clinics are treating patients with diarrhea, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses, and providing free medicines and vaccinations.

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World Health Day (April 7)

Many families are improving their health, and gaining access to clean water, nutrition education and improved sanitation, with CWS help. In the West Pokot region of western Kenya, for example, CWS technicians helped the village of Chepakuul build its own sand dam and shallow well.

Francis, a committee member for the dam and well projects, says his village used to have a problem with typhoid and cholera because of a contaminated water source. “Now, with this shallow well, we are very lucky. A neighboring community recently had cholera after a recent rain, but we did not.”

With easy access to clean water and CWS-led sanitation education, villagers are also building sanitary latrines to keep dangerous diseases from contaminating their new water source.

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Your support for Church World Service work around the world and in the U.S. is urgently needed.


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