From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
CARIBBEAN CONFERENCE OF CHURCHES BEGINS RECOVERY WORK
04 May 1996 20:41:33
95328 CARIBBEAN CONFERENCE OF CHURCHES BEGINS RECOVERY WORK
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
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 PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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