November 1, 2005
UCC partners rush to provide aid to earthquake survivors. As the icy winter descends from the world's tallest peaks, the United Nations has said that more than two million people need shelter, medical care, food, water and sanitation facilities.
The world's failure to come up with sufficient immediate funds to assist hundreds of thousands of Pakistani and Indian quake survivors before winter sets in left relief officials on the ground baffled and upset. Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf has emphasized the urgency of continuing relief supplies in the days ahead to the affected areas to alleviate the suffering the people affected by the earthquake. (See bottom of page for action steps.)
Gifts from One Great Hour of Sharing have been shared with UCC partners, Church World Service/Pakistan, the National Council of Churches of Pakistan and CASA (Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action) to support their relief efforts.
Described as Pakistan's most catastrophic earthquake, the death toll has now exceeded 50,000 and continues to increase as more areas become accessible. Some 78,000 were injured, as many as 3 million people are homeless, and 1 million persons are in need of emergency relief aid.
Massive rescue and relief operations are underway, however bad weather and aftershocks are creating hazardous conditions, including landslides on roadways and landing strips that are slowing relief activities. With winter on the horizon, the situation is critical for those without shelter, food, water and other basic supplies.
Relief is getting through to some of the hardest hit areas including Muzaffarabad and Balakot. However, in remote mountain villages where temperatures are as low as 7 degrees Celsius and snow is falling, conditions are severely hampering humanitarian response activities. CWS-Pakistan staff reports that many are opting to carry supplies on foot or by pack animal to get them to certain remote areas.
The October 8, earthquake caused substantial destruction in northern India. More than 1,300 people are dead, 7,000 injured and 150,000 homeless, according to government sources in India. These numbers are likely to rise, as access to remote villages is still limited. Similar to the situation in Pakistan, a shortage of shelter materials and other basic needs are primary concerns. The Government of India, international agencies, and local non-governmental organizations are responding but are hampered by severe weather conditions and blocked roads.
Church World Service, which has had relief and development operations in Pakistan for more than 25 years, was one of the first relief agencies to begin distributing relief assistance in the wake of the earthquake, initially moving 6,000 shelter kits and family food packages to Murree, north of Islamabad.
CWS will provide 15,000 affected families with food and non-food items and plans to increase the number of beneficiary families to 22,000 in the coming weeks. Emergency food packages will include wheat flour, rice, pulses, cooking oil, sugar, tealeaves, salt, and matchboxes to meet a family's needs for one month. Non-food items will include shelter kits and housing reconstruction supplies. CWS is also setting up two field clinics, each with five staff persons including two doctors-one female and one male-to provide assistance to the injured. CWS plans to serve at least 100,000 affected individuals -- half in Azad Kashmir and half in the Northwest Frontier Province -through these field clinics. Basic health care will also be provided through the CWS clinic in Mansehra, which has assisted Afghan refugees for more than 10 years.
Families to be served are those who have lost their houses along with women, children, and vulnerable families who are without food and shelter and have taken refuge outdoors will be served.
The National Council of Churches of Pakistan is participating in the CWS/Pakistan relief efforts.
SPECIFICS OF CWS KITS:
Shelter Kits ($172/per kit): Each shelter kit includes following items: Family-size Tent, Ground Sheet, Plastic Sheet, 2 Iron Poles, Hammer, 4 Blankets
Food Packages ($72/per family): Each food package comprises of: Wheat flour 3 80 kg, Rice - 40 kg, Pulses - 7 kg Cooking oil - 10 liters, Sugar - 7 kg, Tea leaves - 1 kg, Salt (Iodized) - 1 packet, Match Box - 1 packet, Soap - 4
House Reconstruction Kits ($601/per kit): Each house reconstruction kit consists of: 15 bags Cement, 6 Iron beams, 3 Windows, 4 Doors, Tin Sheets, Wire Mesh, Steel Rods and other Earthquake Resistant Materials.
Distribution of relief items (shelter kits, food packages and house reconstruction kits) and organization of two free medical camps are underway.
UCC partner Church's Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) is providing assistance to 10,000 earthquake-affected families, and is distributing heavy wool blankets, clothing, and other non-food items. Five hundred families will receive family-sized tents for temporary housing, and housing reconstruction kits will also be distributed to assist the most vulnerable families whose homes were damaged or destroyed.
How You Can Help:
1. Pray for the people affected by the Pakistan/Kashmir Earthquake and the Church World Service/Pakistan and CASA staff members who are providing relief assistance.
2. Advocate. Time is of the essence in delivering aid, because winter weather arriving in the next few weeks will make relief to these communities nearly impossible. It is critical that we act now before an even greater humanitarian crisis develops. Call on President Bush to act quickly to release the full $50 million in U.S. aid promised, and to dedicate more helicopters and troops needed to deliver aid. www.ucctakeaction.org/action/
3. To help those affected by this disaster you may send gifts payable to your congregation marked for Pakistan/Kashmir Earthquake, with the request they are sent through your Conference office on to Wider Church Ministries.
4. Send gifts payable to Wider Church Ministries and marked in the memo portion Pakistan/Kashmir Earthquake, to Wider Church Ministries; 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.
5. Make a secure on-line donation now by clicking on the donation button on this page.