HOTLINE - week of April 19, 2010

CWS partners respond to earthquake-related needs on the Tibetan plateau in western China; CWS continues response to Northeast U.S. floods; for Earth Day, a glimpse of CWS environmentally sustainable work around the world.

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Tibetan woman unloads bales of blankets.Western China--Ethnic Tibetans unload bails of quilts provided by CWS partner the Amity Foundation to help provide protection from sub-zero temperatures for earthquake survivors. Photo: Amity/ACT

China

The death toll from the April 14 earthquake on the Tibetan plateau, in northwest China's Qinghai Province, has risen to more than 1,900 and is likely to increase. Local groups working with longtime CWS partner the Amity Foundation say that 80 percent of the houses in Yushu County, the most-affected area, have collapsed.  Survivors are coping with strong winds and near-freezing temperatures.

To help meet the needs of survivors, the Amity Foundation has so far provided 100,000 pounds of rice, 5,500 pounds of wheat flour, 850 boxes of instant noodles, 350 cartons of water, 480 blankets, and 300 quilts and bed sheets. 

“This rice and flour are so precious to us,” said one survivor.  “It is our first time to receive relief materials since the earthquake.”

Due to the tough conditions, reports Amity, many rescue workers from other parts of the country had altitude sickness. Amity staffers, too, had some symptoms (difficulty in breathing, headache and vomiting).  While some rescue teams have been unable to continue and have withdrawn from Yushu, Amity says its “frontier soldiers” are still holding to their ground firmly.  Another truckload of Amity relief supplies will arrive Tuesday (Apr. 20).

Church World Service, as a member of the ACT Alliance, is supporting response efforts of the Amity Foundation.  

Northeast floods

In the wake of record-breaking late-March rains and flooding, Rhode Island has joined other states receiving a federal disaster declaration, making households eligible for federal assistance. More than 17,000 households have already registered. Other states receiving federal disaster declarations include West Virginia, Massachusetts and New Jersey. 

     CWS is seeking funds to assist local response efforts, including grant requests from recovery groups.
     The CWS Recovery Tools and Training program is assisting local communities as they plan recovery efforts. Groups that have already requested the program include those in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
     CWS Emergency Response Specialist Joanne Hale is closely working with New Jersey Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, known as VOAD, and Interfaith Partnership, a long-term recovery group. In West Virginia, CWS has a long working history with recovery organizations in that state. In Rhode Island, CWS is working with the Rhode Island VOAD to involve faith-based partners to strengthen their work and will continue to assist in the development of recovery groups.
     In March, CWS provided CWS Kits, Blankets and Emergency Clean-up Buckets in response to earlier flooding in New Jersey.  CWS has also provided Emergency Clean-up Buckets to the First Congregational Church (UCC) in Raynham, Mass., for use in recent flood clean-up efforts.
     Further material assistance may be provided in response to the latest floods.

In the wake of record-breaking late-March rains and flooding, Rhode Island has joined other states receiving a federal disaster declaration, making households eligible for federal assistance. More than 17,000 households have already registered. Other states receiving federal disaster declarations include West Virginia, Massachusetts and New Jersey. 

CWS is seeking funds to assist local response efforts, including grant requests from recovery groups.

The CWS Recovery Tools and Training program is assisting local communities as they plan recovery efforts. Groups that have already requested the program include those in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

CWS Emergency Response Specialist Joanne Hale is closely working with New Jersey Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, known as VOAD, and Interfaith Partnership, a long-term recovery group. In West Virginia, CWS has a long working history with recovery organizations in that state. In Rhode Island, CWS is working with the Rhode Island VOAD to involve faith-based partners to strengthen their work and will continue to assist in the development of recovery groups.

In March, CWS provided CWS Kits, Blankets and Emergency Clean-up Buckets in response to earlier flooding in New Jersey.  CWS has also provided Emergency Clean-up Buckets to the First Congregational Church (UCC) in Raynham, Mass., for use in recent flood clean-up efforts.

Further material assistance may be provided in response to the latest floods.

Earth Day

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, CWS continues to assist many communities as they work to manage their environmental resources to better provide for their families.  

In Honduras, for example, some 1,410 families in the Rio Chiquila micro-basin are participating in a CWS-supported project to grow a variety of vegetables in their gardens, while protecting water, soil and forest resources. The project is promoting forest regeneration and sustainable agricultural production through training and technical assistance for small-scale farmers. The farmers are also encouraged to organize and work with local municipalities to establish a culture of protection and valuation of the environment and to study the effects of climate change. 

In Pakistan, 4,500 families are growing more food by using water conserved in irrigation ponds.  They are also cutting down on chemical fertilizers by learning how to use compost. 

In the Kitui diocese, Mwingi district, Kenya, some 12,500 people are benefitting from the construction of six sand dams and six shallow wells that are providing water for both families and livestock.  Communities have established vegetable gardens and fruit tree nurseries near each sand dam. Through the CWS-supported program, they are also learning about health, hygiene and environmental conservation issues.

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

 

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