From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Presbyterian relief aid on the move to Cuba

Date 5 Dec 2001 11:48:14 -0500

Note #6968 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


Presbyterian relief aid on the move to Cuba

$60,000 backs plan for feeding, clothing and housing thousands following

by Evan Silverstein

LOUISVILLE - Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has pledged $60,000 to
church officials in Cuba in wake of the most devastating storm to hit the
island-nation in a half-century.

The funds are earmarked for a $445,000 emergency appeal by the Cuban Council
of Churches (CCC) after Hurricane Michelle slammed Cuba last month, killing
five and leaving thousands homeless. The CCC is seeking relief aid to
rebuild homes and provide food, medicine and clothing to victims of the

"Plans include the building of 60 homes and assistance with food and
medicine," said Pamela Burdine, PDA's communications officer. "Church World
Service is sending 15 disaster response medicine boxes each with supplies
for 115 people and $50,000 worth of health kits for use in shelters."

The PDA's contribution is being channeled through Church World Service
(CWS), the relief arm of the National Council of Churches, which is seeking
$100,000 from its 35 denominational members to support the CCC's appeal. The
Presbyterian Church, through Church World Service, has supported
humanitarian aid shipments to Cuba over the years, Burdine said.

Hurricane Michelle made landfall in Cuba on Nov. 4 as a powerful Category
Four storm with winds of 135 mph, causing severe damage in eight provinces
and the Isle of Youth, areas that account for over 45 percent of the
country's land mass and 53 percent of the population, according to Cuban

The high winds pounded the country's telecommunications system, knocking out
Cuba's main communications tower and disrupting phone service. Michelle also
caused extensive damage to the country's electrical infrastructure and wiped
out tens of thousands of homes. The Cuban government had reportedly ordered
the evacuation of 700,000 people before the storm hit - 100,000 remained in
shelters last month.

Among the areas hit hardest by Michelle: the provinces of Matanzas,
Cienfuegos, Villa Clara and Havana. Before punishing Cuba, Hurricane
Michelle took 12 lives in Honduras, Nicaragua and Jamaica.

The CCC is focusing assistance on two municipalities in Matanzas province:
Jaguey Grande and Perico. Aid will include food, medicine, clothing and
housing reconstruction.

CCC plans helping 3,000 people in Jaguey Grande, who have not been allowed
to return to their residences, with food, clothing, medicine and assistance
rebuilding their homes.

In Perico, CCC plans ministering to 10 families who lost everything in the
storm, including their homes. Residents of a nursing home will receive food,
clothing, medicines and hygiene articles as well as assistance for repairs
to the building.

The CCC Emergency Committee will rely on the support of the Presbyterian and
Christian Reformed churches in the province for assistance.

Gifts of financial support may be designated for Cuba Relief account
#9-2000150.  Donations may be made online - - or by
calling PresbyTel at 800-872-3283. Pledges may also be mailed to: Central
Receiving Service, Section 300, Louisville, KY 40289.
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