HOTLINE - week of July 4, 2011

Continuing response to 2011 U.S. spring storms; July long-term recovery trainings to help most vulnerable U.S. tornado and flood survivors; CWS provides resources to help Pakistani students and teachers

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Severe flooding inundated parts of Shelby County, near Memphis, Tenn., this spring, including this mobile home park.
Photo: FEMA/Ed Edahl

Continuing response to 2011 U.S. spring storms

Tornadoes, storms and floods have caused extensive loss of life and damage in the billions of dollars in the U.S. from North Carolina to Oklahoma and from North Dakota to Alabama.

CWS has shipped hundreds of Emergency Cleanup Buckets, blankets, hygiene kits, school kits and baby care kits to many communities in storm- and flood-affected areas.  The shipments – and the needs – continue.

Many communities have recently been impacted by severe storms and flooding throughout the Missouri River drainage area – in the states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Missouri.  In Minot, N.D., on the Souris River (also called Mouse River), more than 12,000 of the 36,000 residents have been evacuated – their homes now sitting in water 6 feet deep.  An additional 1,000 people have been evacuated in Ward County where Minot is located.  Other towns affected in this area are Sawyer and Velva, N.D.

In Iowa, 1,200 people have been evacuated from the town of Hamburg as the Missouri River topped the last levee protecting it.  In Council Bluffs, Iowa, the levee is still holding, but mandatory evacuations are in effect due to the rise of interior ground water behind the levee system.

Missouri River Valley flooding will continue in communities throughout the summer, as water is released from dams filled to capacity and high waters cause levee system failures.

CWS urgently needs donations of Cleanup Buckets for the Spring Storms response.  Find out how to help at

Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be made online or sent to your denomination or to Church World Service (Please specify Appeal #627-P.)

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July long-term recovery trainings to help most vulnerable U.S. tornado and flood survivors

“Recovering from a disaster requires a whole-community approach,” says CWS Emergency Response Specialist Bryan Crousore.  As part of its response to record floods, tornadoes and storms that have plagued the country’s heartland this spring, CWS is conducting a series of July training seminars in Alabama and Tennessee for individuals and groups wanting to establish long-term recovery organizations.

Crousore, who will conduct the daylong training sessions, says, “Even with maximum assistance from federal, state and local governments, from insurance and charitable donations, it will take years for the area to fully recover.”  With six decades of experience, CWS knows that poor families and individuals are least able to repair their homes or find a new one after a large-scale disaster.

The five long-term recovery trainings are scheduled to take place in Huntsville, Birmingham, Thomasville and Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Chattanooga, Tenn.

Workshops, luncheon and training materials are free and open to faith- based groups, religious leaders, community leaders, social service organizations, disaster case managers, and “anyone dedicated to helping rebuild homes and lives.”

The workshops will cover community needs assessments, structuring recovery organizations, accessing FEMA assistance… in short, “finding the money, muscle and materials for recovery.”

“Helping people who are uninsured, under-insured and most at risk of falling through the cracks of the system requires considerable knowledge, resources, networks and definitely commitment,” says Crousore, who conducted early June trainings and community outreach in southeastern Missouri areas affected when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers breached a levy to divert floodwaters from more populated areas.

Debra Tarver, of Pinhook, Mo., is trying to help her community recover after a levy breach destroyed it.  CWS is helping her learn how.  See her story at

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CWS provides resources to help Pakistani students and teachers

Many schools operating in remote areas of Pakistan lack school supplies and learning resources as well as the proper infrastructure to help students to reach their potential.  CWS-Pakistan/Afghanistan, through its early childhood intervention, works with schools to train teachers in accordance with the national curriculum and provides tools and strategies to help children learn.

Recently, school kits were distributed to 33 schools across Punjab and Sindh, benefitting approximately 3,642 students.  Each kit contains poster paints, a hole punch, wall clock, pattern blocks, pegs, tape, string and other items that promote learning by helping engage students to use their creativity.

CWS-P/A understands that early childhood education is essential in developing countries in order to develop young minds for a better tomorrow.  Essential classroom supplies help create child-friendly spaces and nurture creativity and critical thinking.

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