From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 04 May 1996 20:41:33


                       AFTER HURRICANE LUIS 
                          by Alexa Smith 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--The island of Antigua is where church-based emergency aid 
will be coordinated in the wake of Hurricane Luis, according to Edward 
Cumberbatch of Bridgetown, Barbados, general secretary of the Caribbean 
Conference of Churches (CCC). 
     Transport of aid by the CCC and the Christian Council of Antigua has 
begun on Antigua, where the harbor and airport are functioning.  As soon as 
airports on other islands are operational, distribution will be extended 
across the Caribbean. 
     "Winds of 140-160 miles per hour have done enormous damage, especially 
to poor people whose houses are not substantial," Cumberbatch told the 
Presbyterian News Service. 
     Since more structurally sound homes on Antigua and Montserrat 
constructed for the poor under CCC supervision after other tropical storms 
survived the water and the wind, long-term recovery strategies include 
building durable housing for those least able to afford it. 
     Presbyterian World Service disaster relief coordinator the Rev. Dan 
Rift says the denomination has dispatched $10,000 to Church World Service 
to help fulfill its $100,000 appeal for Caribbean recovery -- and 
opportunities for volunteers to do cleanup and construction will be 
available too.  
     Volunteers will need to be capable of living in difficult conditions, 
cautioned Harry F. Del Valle, executive of the Synod of Puerto Rico in 
Mayaguez, whose mission council is now deciding how to send volunteers to 
harder hit areas, such as Antigua or Viequez and Culebra, two smaller 
islands just off Puerto Rico's east coast.   
     Speaking of Antigua, he said, "The situation is, half of the houses 
have been destroyed by the hurricane.  There were only two hotels. Both are 
destroyed.  The hospital was totally destroyed." 
     Del Valle said Luis did much less damage to Puerto Rico than Hurricane 
Hugo did.  Church buildings, he said, sustained minimal damage -- but 
estimates are still being sought for a damaged building housing a 
church-sponsored vocational school for runaways in Naranjito. "The stronger 
winds went through the east of the island," said Del Valle, adding that 
most churches -- located in the western part of Puerto Rico -- reported 
minor flooding at worst. 
     Cumberbatch said The United Methodist Church immediately sent $40,000 
as seed money to get Project Accord II, the CCC's relief operation, under 
way.  In the short term, Cumberbatch said, cash gifts enable the CCC to 
respond quickly and flexibly.  "We can buy a lot of things right here in 
the Caribbean," he said.  Over the longer term, other supplies, like 
construction materials, will be necessary. 
     Project Accord I operated out of Jamaica in 1988 after Hurricane 
     Church World Service bulletins say thousands of people on Antigua and 
Barbuda need both emergency and long-term recovery help, since the 
hurricane damaged more than 70 percent of the housing on both islands. 
Extensive destruction is also reported on Anguilla, St. Maarten and the 
British Virgin Islands. 
     The CCC is also coordinating the response of regional nongovernmental 
organizations in the islands at the request of the Caribbean Disaster 
Emergency Response Agency (CEDRA). 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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