From the Worldwide Faith News archives

CWS Expands Hurricane Georges Recovery

Date 09 Oct 1998 17:33:14

National Council of the Churches of Christ in the 

Contact: Wendy McDowell, NCC, 212-870-2227

EDITORS: When listing organizations receiving funds for 
humanitarian response to Hurricane Georges, please 

CHURCH WORLD SERVICE, Attn. Hurricane Georges, P.O. Box 
968, Elkhart, IN 46515.  Phone pledges or credit card 
donations: 1-800-762-0968.

CWS works in more than 70 countries, including the 
United States, in disaster relief, human development 
and refugee assistance.  It is a ministry of the 
National Council of Churches, the nation's preeminent 
ecumenical organization which includes 34 Protestant 
and Orthodox member communions with a combined 
membership of nearly 52 million.

Note: For local and regional contacts in hurricane-
affected areas, call the NCC Communication Department 
at 212-870-2227.


Ecumenical Recovery Efforts Also Underway in Gulf Coast 

 NEW YORK, Oct. 9 ---- As continuing assessments in 
Puerto Rico following Hurricane Georges are revealing 
more extensive damage than was first expected, Church 
World Service (CWS) is expanding its response to 
provide emergency relief shipments and to determine 
long-term needs in the Caribbean.  Meanwhile, strong 
faith-based recovery efforts assisted by CWS volunteer 
disaster consultants are coalescing around long-term 
needs in the Gulf Coast and Texas-Mexico border area.

Damage in Puerto Rico alone is now estimated at 
more than $2 billion, including 45,000 homes destroyed, 
another 45,000 with severe damage, and considerable 
crop losses.

"In some areas, power may be out for as long as 
eight months," reported Shirley Norman, CWS/FEMA 
Regional Facilitator from Puerto Rico.  "Some 17,000 
people remain homeless by the storm, and in rural 
areas, a lack of clean water is leading to an increase 
in dysentery."

The cornerstone of CWS efforts will be a shipment 
of material goods to Puerto Rico and Cuba.  A shipment 
valued at more than $100,000 will go to the Puerto 
Rican Council of Churches and other groups and include 
sheets; blankets; clean-up, health and school kits; 
flashlights; backpacks; kerosene lanterns; air 
mattresses, and portable generators.  A shipment valued 
at more than $70,000 will go to the Cuban Council of 
Churches, including sheets; blankets; health, sewing 
and school kits, and canned beef donated by the Church 
of the Brethren.

 To support the appeal, congregations and community 
groups are being urged to assemble "Gifts of the Heart" 
clean-up and health kits.

 Additional recovery efforts in the region 
supported by this appeal include:

  $50,000 for Haiti, where CWS will assist relief and 
reconstruction efforts through the ecumenical 
organizations CONASPEH (National Spiritual Council 
of Churches in Haiti), Ecumenical Committee for 
Peace and Justice (COPJ) and SKDE (Christian Center 
for Integrated Development).

  CWS has sent $8,000 to the Puerto Rican Council of 
Churches for immediate food distributions.  Ms. 
Norman, a Church of the Brethren representative from 
Pennsylvania, is working with Waddy Gonzalez, Puerto 
Rico-based FEMA voluntary agency liaison, to 
organize a broad-based ecumenical response that will 
bring together the Council, CWS member 
denominations, and members of small Pentecostal 
churches and the Catholic Church.

  CWS has sent $15,000 in Emergency Advance Funds to 
Dominican Churches Social Service (SSID), a long-
time partner in the Dominican Republic, for 
immediate relief needs there, including blankets and 
construction materials.

 Meanwhile, faith-based recovery efforts continue 
in the Gulf Coast region and in the Texas-Mexico border 

  Work in the Del Rio, Texas, area following late 
summer flooding is continuing on two fronts, 
according to Regional Facilitator Norman Hein (FEMA 
Region VI), of Lutheran Disaster Response.  The 
ecumenical group "Del Rio Recovers" has hired staff 
and is working with partner churches across the 
border in Mexico to assist poorer "colonias" in 
Acuna.  The partnership is focused now on supplying 
mattresses to disaster survivors.  Volunteers to 
assist with construction work will be needed later 
in the year through early 1999, Mr. Hein reports.

  Jodi Hill of Florida Interfaiths Networking in 
Disasters has been assisting in assessments in 
Florida, where cleanup efforts are ongoing.

  Back Bay Mission is taking the lead on faith-based 
recovery efforts in the Biloxi, Miss., area, while 
Mobile-VOAD Interfaith is likely to head efforts in 
Alabama.  Among those who may be assisted in the 
Mississippi Delta area are Laotian and Vietnamese 
fishing communities.  

  Rains from Georges spared New Orleans, but 
exacerbated problems in Louisiana from Hurricane 
Frances.  CWS Louisiana-based Disaster Resource 
Consultant Peggy Case of Catholic Charities is 
overseeing the already established Terrebone 
Recovery Assistance, which is responding.  CWS is 
also helping the religious community elsewhere in 
the state to build interfaith organizations based on 
the Terrebone model.


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