HOTLINE - week of October 26, 2009

Renewed violence in Pakistan displaces more civilians; CWS honors Congressional champions of humanitarian concerns; providing safe, clean water in West Sumatra, Indonesia

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Alia and her brother  
Pakistan: Alia, displaced by the military offensive, sits with her brother, who is making tea to sell to passers by at a registration point.
Photo: REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood, courtesy


On October 17 the Pakistan military launched an offensive in the South Waziristan region, in the northwest of the country.  Civilians are fleeing the violence and taking refuge with friends and families when able.  The UN reports that 100,000 new internally displaced persons have fled to Dera Ismail Khan and Tank, districts neighboring the region of conflict.

Because humanitarian access in the area is being restricted to only local agencies, Church World Service is supporting local partner Sarhad in its efforts to deliver assistance to the newly displaced. 

Depending on funding, CWS hopes to distribute Hygiene Kits, blankets and other non-food items for 5,000 families and provide safe water to 8,800 displaced persons with 80 communal hand pumps, and support sanitation with 440 latrines, 80 bathing places and 80 washing points.  

This response is in addition to current relief activities that CWS and partners are providing to displaced persons in Abbottabad, Haripur, Mardan, Swabi and Buner districts of the North West Frontier Province.

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Washington, D.C.

“We celebrate the collaboration between the ecumenical faith community and Congress in the pursuit of a more just, peaceful and ecologically sustainable world,” says the Rev. John L. McCullough, executive director and CEO of Church World Service.

A select group of U.S. lawmakers was honored by CWS this past Wednesday (10/21) as champions of concerns vital to poor people around the globe and to the interests of the faith community.  The U.S. Agency for International Development was also recognized for its collaboration with CWS and other international humanitarian agencies. 

For a list of honorees and their accomplishments, please visit

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West Sumatra, Indonesia

“People can live a week without food, but not a day without water,” says Jopie Sinanu, CWS-Indonesia’s water and sanitation specialist. CWS is improving water supplies and sanitation facilities in the region after the September 30 earthquake.

Juni, a mother of four, could not get safe water after the quake struck her village, Sibaruas.  The water had become blackish and undrinkable. 

Ten days after the earthquake, CWS installed a pillow tank and a tap station, enabling the community to instantly fetch clean water.  Juni notes, “We were so happy! The children shouted in excitement.” 

Two groups in Sibaruas village were also trained on how to clean wells properly.  The CWS training not only provides local skill to help provide safe water, but it also provides a livelihood opportunity for the trainees in the quake’s aftermath.  The two groups aim to restore 20 wells in the coming months, and CWS has provided three water pumps to help clean the wells. 

In total, CWS has set up nine pillow tanks in five villages in Sungai Limau sub-district, distributed 10,000 liters of clean water, and constructed six latrines, including one in a place of worship and another in a school.    

In addition CWS is helping to provide food, shelter, disaster preparedness, livelihood training, and non-food items to the quake survivors as they put their lives and communities aright.

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