UCC helps provide support to 35,500 survivors of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh

November 18, 2007

The United Church of Christ has provided support to the ACT International Rapid Response Fund which is being utilized to support 35,500 people following Cyclone Sidr.

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GENEVA, -- Responding to communities devastated by Cyclone Sidr, members of Action by Churches Together (ACT) International, of which the UCC is a member, are beginning emergency support for more than 35,500 people in southern Bangladesh.

Initial reports indicate that at least 2,200 people have died as a result of the cyclone, with the number expected to rise in the worst storm to hit Bangladesh since 1991 when nearly 143,000 people died.

UCC partners and ACT members in Bangladesh, Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB), Lutheran Health Care Bangladesh (LHCB) and Social Health and Education Development Board (SHED) are assisting families through emergency food support includ ing rice, pulses, salt and oil as well as oral rehydration salts.

The initial assistance, supported by the ACT Rapid Response Fund, which the UCC funds, will ensure two meals a day for at least five days, targeting particularly vulnerable groups of people including widows, children, the elderly, disabled and those without land in the districts of Bagerhat, Barisal, Gopalganj, Khulna and Madarapur.

UCC partner and ACT member, Christian Aid, is also planning assistance through its local implementing partners and has already allocated funds to cover the first two weeks of their response. Initial expectations for assistance include medical support and food followed by shelter and small cash grants.

Over the next seven days, UCC partner and ACT member, Church of Bangladesh (CoB), will be assessing early recovery and rehabilitation needs and is planning to move directly into interventions likely including housing and livelihood support.

Prior to the storm, CCDB reported that people on the island of Moheshkali were evacuated to cyclone shelters, including 44 shelters constructed by CCDB following the devastating 1991 cyclone.

Through its local partners, Christian Aid had also already been working in the cyclone-affected coastal areas through a community-based disaster preparedness project.

ACT members are coordinating their efforts with other humanitarian responders and local governments, and will be submitting an appeal proposal to the ACT Coordinating Office in the coming days. The United Church of Christ will make an initial response to the anticipated appeal with funds from the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering. Additional funds will be greatly needed. Your generous contribution is welcome.

HOW YOU MAY HELP:

1. Please pray for the people of Bangladesh and the disaster responders.

2. To assist displaced Bangladesh families, you may, send gifts payable to your congregation marked for "International Disaster Fund - Bangladesh" with the request they be sent through your Conference office on to Wider Church Ministries.

OR

Send gifts, made out to Wider Church Ministries and marked in the memo portion "International Disaster Fund - Bangladesh" to Wider Church Ministries; 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.

OR

Make a secure on-line donation.

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