HOTLINE - week of June 28, 2010

CWS helping those displaced by violence in Kyrgyzstan; In Indonesia, latrines and wells improve community life; CWS supporting agriculture in Serbia

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Ethnic Uzbek women displaced by violence
Kyrgyzstan--Ethnic Uzbek women displaced by violence waiting on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border.
Photo:  REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov, courtesy AlertNet.org.

Kyrgyzstan

Following a massive internal displacement and refugee crisis caused by an outbreak of ethnic violence, the United Nations and regional officials say that most people who fled the recent violence in Kyrgyzstan have returned from neighboring Uzbekistan.

The ethnic unrest has severely destabilized Kyrgyzstan, where a referendum on Sunday (June 27) approved a new constitution, paving the way for the first parliamentary democracy in Central Asia.

While many of those displaced by the violence have returned in recent days, many are living with relatives or in tents because their homes were destroyed by the violence.

Church World Service is supporting efforts of fellow ACT Alliance members to provide food and non-food assistance to people in need in the cities of Osh and Jalalabad.

Local ACT partners based in the region are buying agricultural products from local farmers to avoid long and dangerous transport routes.  Partners have been able to facilitate the impartial distribution of 20 metric tons of rice and vegetables in Osh.  ACT estimates that local farmers can supply up to at least 5,000 metric ton of potatoes, rice, flour, vegetables and livestock from existing stocks.

CWS-supported efforts also included work by ACT members to provide 7,000 family relief packages in Bishkek this past week.  Each package includes approximately 15 kg of dry food rations and kitchen utensils for one family.

ACT is also sending a team of experts to Jalalabad and Osh to assess the needs in the field and identify priorities for further CWS-supported ACT operations.

Indonesia

"I feel safer now that we have a latrine.  We don’t have to fear for hygiene issues and also weather every time we want to go to the river for bathing," says Pik Anon, 50, a widow and mother of three children in Kampung Juah village, Sungai Limau Sub-district, West Sumatra.

She was one of thousands of people who were affected by a September 2009 earthquake, which destroyed hundreds of houses, along with wells that were a source of clean water.

Pik Anon, along with most of the village, used to take water from a local river for washing clothes and bathing.

"We know that it is not very good to use river water for all the cleaning purposes, but we could not afford a latrine.  Only [a few] families can afford their own private latrine," she says.

Pik Anon and her family used to draw drinking water from a neighbor's well.  After the earthquake the well water was unusable, and Pik Anon had to buy water for drinking and cooking.  For this widow, the high cost of drinking water was a burden she couldn’t afford.

In response to the village’s water situation, CWS provided 32 latrine stalls and built wells that serve about 500 households.  CWS also provided hygiene information and tools such as brushes, brooms and buckets.

"We have been using the latrine… and we are happy," says Pik Anon.  "We will do all we can to look after the latrine," she adds, and explains that she and her neighbors are working together to keep their latrine clean by using the hygiene tools CWS provided.

Serbia

Some 1,500 people--elderly, displaced, disabled, unemployed, ethnic Roma, children and women--in Smederevo Municipality are benefitting from a Church World Service-supported agricultural program of the Smederevo Red Cross, where they get meals at area soup kitchens or receive meals delivered to them.

The program raises food for meals for low-income people, including chickens and pigs, and vegetables.

Earlier this year, 600 chickens were fattened as a source of protein for the soup kitchens and the delivered meals.  An automated "drop-by-drop" watering system was built that supplies clean water to the chickens and helps keep chicken pen floors dry.  The chickens are housed in an insulated, well ventilated building, with consistent access to fresh water and feed, providing an estimated 1.5 tons of chicken meat per year for vulnerable people in the region.

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