From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Lutherans Provide Funds for Relief Efforts in Liberia

Date Fri, 8 Aug 2003 10:22:25 -0500


August 8, 2003

Lutherans Provide Funds for Relief Efforts in Liberia

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
in America (ELCA) contributed $50,000 of the church's
International Disaster Response Fund to support relief efforts in
     "Even as peacekeepers are being deployed, days and weeks of
battle between rebel forces and government over control of
Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, has left tens of thousands of
people destitute," said the Rev. Y. Franklin Ishida, director for
international communication, ELCA Division for Global Mission.
     "Although the death toll has not been confirmed, many people
are believed to have died in the latest round of fighting.
Hundreds have been injured," said Ishida.
     Charles Pitchford, Liberian representative, Lutheran World
Federation (LWF), reported that Monrovia is also facing a water
crisis.  Some recent heavy rains brought a small reprieve, as
people could collect rainwater in buckets, he said.  Access to
safe drinking water and staple foods, such as rice, is becoming
increasingly difficult for people in the city, especially in
government-held areas.	The humanitarian effort seems to be
better in rebel-controlled parts of the city because of access to
port warehouses.
     Pitchford said fighting continues in the downtown and
surrounding areas of Monrovia.	Hospitals cannot take on more
people, and many have died from cholera, he said.
     Fighting has paralyzed the city, with businesses out of
operation, Pitchford said.  "Some food can be found in the more
informal markets but at prices that have shot up over the last
month. Gas and fuel oil are in extremely short supply, with the
price of fuel having tripled."
     Pitchford said many people displaced by the conflict are
"older people," who are "giving up and letting death take them
from the indignity of living in the streets."
     Peacekeeping forces cannot come soon enough for people
trapped in a brutal cycle of attack and counter-attack between
government and rebel forces in Liberia, Pitchford said.  Some
1,500 peacekeepers are expected to make up the Economic Community
of West Africa States (ECOWAS) force, which Liberians still hope
will be assisted by a U.S. peacekeeping force, he added.
     At least 600 people have sought refuge in two Lutheran
church compounds in Monrovia, Ishida said.  In spite of the
ongoing street battles, some of the local LWF staff have started
visiting the compounds to check on people detained there, he
     LWF is specifically engaged in food distribution and refugee
activities, Ishida said.  Around the capital area, some 150,000
displaced people are in camps.	Another 250,000 displaced
individuals are believed to be scattered throughout the country,
inaccessible to humanitarian aid workers because of the lack of
security in rural areas, he said.
     "LWF is in the process of constructing a camp in Salala,
Bong County, to accommodate displaced people who fled from other
areas during the last attack by the rebels.  The Salala camp has
about 35,000 people and will require more non-food items, water
and sanitation, and shelter construction," Ishida said.
     ELCA funds were sent to Action by Churches Together (ACT)
for implementation by the LWF.
     Coordinated by the ELCA Division for Global Mission,
International Disaster Response often channels its funds through
international church organizations and relief agencies.  ACT is a
worldwide network of churches and related agencies that meets
human need through organized emergency response.  It is based
with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the LWF, both in
Geneva, Switzerland.
     The LWF is a global communion of 136 Christian churches in
the Lutheran tradition in 76 countries representing more than
61.7 million of the 65.4 million Lutherans worldwide. The WCC
represents 400 million Christians in more than 340 churches,
denominations and fellowships in 120 countries and territories
throughout the world.  The ELCA is a member of both

Details on the ELCA's International Disaster Response are at on the Web.


Editors: When listing organizations receiving funds for aid to
survivors of major disasters outside the United States, Puerto
Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, please include:

ELCA International Disaster Response
P.O. Box 71764
Chicago, IL 60694-1764
1-800-638-3522 on the

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or

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