Title: Lutherans Support Recovery Efforts in Guatemala, India ELCA NEWS SERVICE
September 28, 2006
Lutherans Support Recovery Efforts in Guatemala, India 06-145-MRC
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- International Disaster Response of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) provided funds Sept. 25 to support recovery operations in Guatemala and India, where severe weather destroyed crops and property in both countries.
In Guatemala tropical storms and strong rain have destroyed crops, producing a food shortage, said Dr. Belletech Deressa, director for international development and disaster response, ELCA Global Mission.
Guatemala is still recovering from Hurricane Stan, which struck the Central American country in 2005. "Hurricane Stan caused serious damage to crops and destroyed homes, schools and entire communities" there, she said.
Iglesia Luterana Agustina de Guatemala (ILAG) (Augustinian Lutheran Church of Guatemala), a "companion church" of the ELCA, has been helping communities affected by the hurricane and the most recent storms, said Deressa. Currently the church is seeking funds to help 218 families in eight communities purchase seeds for corn, beans, rice and other food items, so they can plant and later be able to feed themselves, as well as generate income from the sale of their crops, she said.
The Rev. Horacio Castillo, president of ILAG, visited affected communities to help identify the latest needs of people, said Deressa. ILAG requested financial assistance from ELCA Global Mission, she said. In response to this special appeal for funds, ELCA International Disaster Response provided $40,000 to support ILAG's effort to help communities recover and purchase seeds for planning, she said.
Coordinated by ELCA Global Mission, International Disaster Response channels its funds through international church organizations and relief agencies. Funds provide for food, medicine, drinking water, emergency shelter and other materials for survivors of disasters.
Severe weather has produced floods in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Rajasthan, said Deressa. ELCA International Disaster Response provided $50,000 to support families in these states, where floods have caused widespread damage to property, crops and other infrastructures.
The funds were sent to Action by Churches Together (ACT) for implementation by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), which is overseeing relief operations in India. The funds will be used to purchase food, clean water, shelter and clothing for families, she said.
The ELCA is a member of ACT -- 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 ELCA is a member of the WCC and LWF.
"Whenever international disasters occur, ELCA companions seek financial assistance to help communities rebuild their livelihoods. We are always grateful to ELCA congregations for their gifts to International Disaster Response," said Deressa. - - - INTERNATIONAL DISASTERS: 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, PO Box 71764, Chicago, IL 60694-1764, 1-800-638-3522 and http://www.ELCA.org/disaster/idrgive on the Internet.
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