From the Worldwide Faith News archives

India Quake: CWS Visits, Helps Homeless

Date 22 Feb 2001 13:12:17

National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
Contact: NCC News, 212-870-2227
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Photos available at and/or
on request.


February 22, 2001, NEW YORK – Even as it helps shelter India
earthquake survivors with tarpaulins, Church World Service is looking
forward to supporting construction of quake-resistant housing for some 2,000
homeless families.

Church World Service is supporting the work of its long-time partner
Churches Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), which is laying plans for the
housing construction project – part of a broader relief and
rehabilitation program in the wake of the devastating January 26 earthquake
that is believed to have killed at least 30,000 people.

“The quake not only destroyed homes and lives, but also set the state
of Gujarat, the quake’s epicenter, back 15 years economically,”
said Rick Augsburger, CWS Emergency Response Director. “Long-term
recovery and reconstruction will be a major challenge.”

Augsburger just returned from visiting earthquake-affected areas, including
Bhuj, Feb. 14-19 to show support for CASA and to help distribute family
support kits to disaster survivors.  He was accompanied by CWS Emergency
Response Committee Chair Johnny Wray, Director of the Disciples Week of

“The needs remain overwhelming,” Augsburger reported.  “We
helped with the distribution of family support kits in the small town of
Harori (about 180 families) in Kutch province.  There are over 500 villages
like Harori that are outside of the major cities and towns and who have
tremendous damage and loss.”

"The destruction is indescribable -- it is just so widespread," said Wray. 
"We witnessed CASA providing assistance to some of the poorest of the poor
among the earthquake survivors."

	CASA, which has a 54-year history of responding to disasters, now has at
least 45 people on the ground involved in relief efforts in Gujarat, and has
mobilized teams in the communities of Bhuj, Jamnaga, Gandhidham town and
Rapar.  CASA is being supported in its activities by local partners.

	Ultimately CASA hope to assist 35,000 of the most affected families –
between 175,000 and 210,000 persons – with priority given to those who
were most vulnerable before the disaster.  These include women, children,
the aged, tribe and caste members who are generally agricultural workers,
sharecroppers or small farmers – in other words, those who make up the
majority of the poor and marginalized sections of Indian society.

CASA is providing each family with family support kit. The kits (cost: $25
each) include a blanket, a tarp and lantern, a dry ration kit of food,
water, and a relief kit of essential items of clothing, and a set of kitchen
utensils.  In addition, hot meals of lentils and rice will be served to
families living in camps.

Church World Service has thus far provided $270,000 for blankets and other
emergency needs of survivors of the quake.  CWS has also provided $50,000 to
CWS-Pakistan for blankets, ground sheeting, and plastic tarps for 1,000
rural, poor families in Sindh Province, Pakistan.

In all, CWS is seeking $500,000 in support for these emergency relief
efforts.  Contributions may be earmarked "India Earthquake."

To support Church World Service Response efforts in India, please direct
assistance to:

CHURCH WORLD SERVICE, Attn. India Earthquake, #6924, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart,
IN 46515.  Phone pledges or credit card donations: 1-800-297-1516, ext. 222.
 On-line contributions to:


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