HOTLINE - week of June 21, 2010

Haitians continue recovery from January quake; Violence affects hundreds of thousands in Kyrgyzstan; CWS responds to U.S. flooding and storms; CWS development project assists families in Cambodia

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Florence Coppola
Haiti--Rosenez Stephane with one of her children, in Nerette displacement camp, near Port-au-Prince.
Photo:  Maria Halava/ACT.

Haiti

Most families displaced by the Jan. 12 earthquake were forced into temporary camps in Port-au-Prince and other areas.  However, thousands are now being evicted from these sites without any viable alternative.

Collette Lespinasse, coordinator of an ACT partner, says the Haitian Government has a responsibility to resettle people, but its resettlement strategy is coming too late.  "If people are to move back to their homes, they need help clearing the rubble.  If they go to the host families, they (hosts) need support," she says.

"If we had the possibility, we would have left the camp already," Rosenez Stephane, mother of two, says.  The family of four used to live in a house next to the camp, but the earthquake damaged the house.  "We haven’t got any help clearing the rubble from our home; only the streets have been cleaned.  I hoped we would have been involved in the cleaning work or that we could have at least borrowed the tools to do it ourselves," she points out.

People who fled Port-au-Prince after the earthquake are now coming back to find jobs and to seek ways to make a living.  Says Lespinasse, "The Government... needs to start listening to the Haitians.  They cannot be excluded from the reconstruction of the country."

"If we are evicted from the camp, we can only go back home even though it is damaged," Stephane says.  "We are alive, so there is hope."

CWS continues to assist families in their recovery and support host communities stretched to help those displaced by the quake.  Programs range from repair of damaged houses and expansion of host homes, to building food security by expanding already successful farm cooperatives, including those in Haiti’s Northwest and Artibonite regions.

Violence in Kyrgyzstan

The UN estimates that about 400,000 people have been affected by ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan.  Some 100,000 have fled over the border into Uzbekistan.  Many of those affected are located in isolated and border areas, and have little or no access to food and basic protection.  CWS is supporting efforts of fellow ACT Alliance members to provide food and non-food assistance.

U.S. summer emergencies

In recent weeks, floods and tornadoes have struck thirteen states, leaving at least 53 people dead.

In addition, an earthquake in Baja, Mexico, in April affected some 90 senior apartments and 150 mobile home residents in Imperial County, California.

CWS has provided 210 CWS School Kits, 120 CWS Hygiene Kits, and 75 CWS Emergency Clean-up Buckets to the Pay it Forward Ministry in Monmouth, Ill.  CWS continues to monitor Nebraska and Kansas, where flooding continues, as well as Texas, for training needs.

CWS may also send a small grant to the long-term recovery organization in Imperial County, California, which includes participation from a range of local churches, including United Methodists.

Cambodia

Hoeun Ham, 28, lives in Choam Boeng Village, in Kompong Thom province, and has two children.  She is one of about 151 women who are taking part in CWS-supported regional development projects and have formed self-help groups.  Before CWS came into her life, Ham and her husband worked at various jobs, but were not able to save money or improve their situation.

Two years ago, Ham received a grant from CWS so she could start a small business selling breakfast meals, various groceries, and Khmer cakes.  She now makes a profit of about $3 per day.

Ham says she could not have started it without CWS’s help: "I can run the business because of educational support and coaching from CWS.  Now my family does not suffer from hunger and my children’s health has greatly improved.  I have some extra money to raise animals and grow vegetables.  I am grateful to CWS for supporting my family so we can have a new life."

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