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Caribbean storm devastates islands in its path

September 30, 2004

Hurricane Ivan or Tropical Storm Jeanne caused severe damage to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Grenada, Haiti and other islands in the Caribbean. It may be some time before the full impact on life and property can be fully assessed.

Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Grenada, Haiti and other islands in the Caribbean were devastated by either Hurricane Ivan or Tropical Storm Jeanne that hit in mid September.

While it will be some time before the full impact on life and property can be fully assessed, there is no doubt about the damage that has taken place.

In Jamaica, more than 18,000 homes were destroyed, along with 10 of the island's 15 hospitals. Cuba, Barbados, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas are also dealing with serious hurricane damage.

The situation in the small island nation of Grenada is also dire. Hurricane Ivan left more than half of the island's 90,000 people homeless and wiped out its two primary sources of income: tourism and nutmeg exports.

Gerard Granado, General Secretary of the Caribbean Council of Churches, said Grenada was "not only physically devastated but emotionally devastated as well. Infrastructure is gone; a viable economy is gone." Granado urged North American churches to support the church and the people of Grenada in this moment of need.

Grim, Grisly, and Ghastly, are but a few of the words that are being used to describe the humanitarian nightmare in Haiti, especially as the sanitation conditions worsen amidst decaying corpses, and the possibility of disease outbreak.. To date over 1,200 lives have been claimed by Tropical Storm Jeanne.

In response to this crisis across the Caribbean, Church World Service has issued a major appeal to its member communions to provide a wide array of assistance, including shipments of 75 Interchurch Medical Boxes (one box will serve 3000 people for a month), health and school kits, blankets, other material aid and much needed pastoral care.

The United Church of Christ through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering has sent an initial grant of $10,000 toward the CWS appeal, and is asking congregations to assist with "kits". We will continue to support the requests for emergency relief as well as long-term recovery with our Caribbean church partners.

CWS has also issued an urgent request for "Gift of the Heart Kits", especially school and health kits, as its stock is nearly exhausted. Information on the kits can be found on the Church World Service website: www.churchworldservice.org/kits
 and information about the IMA Medicine boxes can be found on the IMA website: www.interchurch.org/uschurch/index.php#medicinebox

How you can help

1. Pray for the people impacted by the hurricanes and tropical storms.

2. To assist those affected, make gifts payable to your UCC Congregation, marked for "Latin America and Caribbean Hurricane Response" in the memo portion, and send to your Conference Office with a note asking that the gift be forwarded to Wider Church Ministries; 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.

OR

3. Make gifts payable to Wider Church Ministries, mark in the memo portion "Latin America and Caribbean Hurricane Response" and send to: Wider Church Ministries; 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.

OR

4. Make a secure on-line donation now by clicking on the Online Giving section (the orange section) located on this page

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