Media Contacts: Jan Dragin 24/7 (781) 925 1526; firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com Lesley Crosson/CWS/New York, (212) 870-2676, firstname.lastname@example.org
CHURCH WORLD SERVICE EXPEDITES INITIAL EMERGENCY RELIEF KITS TO EAGLE PASS TORNADO SURVIVORS
Agency Issues National Spring Storms Fundraising Appeal, Urges Contribution s of Personal-Sized Emergency Kits
NEW YORK Thurs April 26, 2007 In response to Tuesday night¹s deadly tornado that killed at least ten people in Eagle Pass, Texas, and a neighboring town in Mexico, humanitarian agency Church World Service has expedited an initial shipment of health kits and blankets for those affecte d in Eagle Pass.
New York-headquartered Church World Service has also issued a national fundraising appeal to respond to families recovering from the recent early spring storms, tornadoes and flooding that have wreaked hardship from Texas and New Mexico to New England and Florida.
The shipment of Church World Service 225 health kits and 200 blankets will be distributed by La Trinidad Methodist church in Eagle Pass.
In a related response move, CWS Emergency Response Program Associate Director Linda Reed Brown says the global relief, development and refugee assistance agency has also issued a national appeal for contributions of individual children¹s school kits and baby kits.
³We¹re still pretty early in the season and already the harm is significan t in terms of lives lost, people injured, homes and businesses either lost or badly damaged,² Brown said. ³Extensive flooding also brings a particular need for CWS Emergency Clean Up Buckets.²
Brown says, ³We¹ll need more supplies for emergency relief. The demands of the past two years from disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Pakistan earthquake, the more recent floods in Jakarta, Indonesia, and now, our own storm and flooding damage here in the U.S. are taking a toll on inventories of these staples of relief aid?blankets and kits.²
Brown said that following the tornado that ripped through Dumas, Ark. in March, ³We could have shipped 300 school kits to Dumas students, but the lo w reserve wouldn¹t allow us to do so.²
Church World Service and other relief agencies encourage people to donate cash rather than clothes or other material goods to their chosen charities. But, says CWS¹ Brown, ³In addition to cash donations, those who want to do more find that contributing the contents of personal-sized health, school o r baby kits is a more hands-on way of helping.²
Already a rough season:
Today, search and rescue crews in Eagle Pass were still searching the chaos of houses and trailer homes destroyed by Tuesday¹s tornado and going house to house to make sure more people weren¹t still trapped in the rubble. Dozens are still in emergency shelters.
April¹s earlier big weather system blew roofs off homes in Texas, stretched hail-laden thunderstorms from Alabama to Ohio and socked the East Coast with a deluge of rain, a major Northeaster along the New England coast, up to 17 inches of snow further inland, and winds reported up to 80 mph. The storm claimed at least 16 lives and knocked out electrical service to at least 977,000 customers from Florida to Quebec. Rainfall in metropolitan Ne w York shattered a 100 year-old record. West Virginia and New Jersey declare d states of emergency.
Church World Service disaster response specialists are now assessing needs in affected regions and working with existing long-term recovery partnerships in Pike County, Kentucky, New York State and Rhode Island.
CWS is also following the needs of an estimated 1,000 Hispanic immigrants i n New Jersey displaced by the mid-April storms, at least half of whom are undocumented many with a language barrier and distrust of authority that typically make immigrant communities resistant to assistance. To that end, Church World Service has just shipped CWS Baby Kits, Health Kits, School Kits, Emergency Cleanup Buckets and Kids Kits for distribution by its disaster response partner Catholic Charities in Paterson, N.J.
Following domestic disasters, Church World Service focuses on support of community-based long-term recovery programs for people with unmet needs, th e uninsured, and the most vulnerable populations.
On May 3 (Thurs) in Beaumont, Tex., the global relief, development and refugee assistance agency will co-present with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) a one-day Long-Term Recovery Summit for the 5,000 families still in need following 2005¹s Hurricane Rita, what CWS and FEMA are calling the ³forgotten disaster.²
? Contributions to the Church World Service Spring Storms Appeal may be mad e by credit card online; by calling 800-297-1516, ext. 222; or sent by check to Church World Service 2007 Spring Storms (#6293), P.O. Box 968 Elkhart, IN 46515.
? Contributions to the Church World Service Tools and Blankets Program may be made by mail to: CWS Tools & Blankets, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515; or through a secure donation online at: https://secure.churchworldservice.org/catalog/display.php?product_id=148
? For information on how groups, workplace groups, or congregations can participate in their own CWS Tools and Blankets events, call the nearest Church World Service Regional Office at (toll free) (888) 297-2767.