Getting an Education in Southern Asia
By Debra Frantz, Southern Asia Office
An update on the earthquake and our opportunity to support relief efforts through donations and advocacy.
Very few of the 3 million rendered homeless by the October 8 earthquake have had the ability, the resources and the time to reconstruct homes. Most are trying to get winterized tents that will allow them to survive the winter at high elevations in the mountains of Pakistan/Kashmir. Many still have not received the promised winterized tents. Many thousands more could be lost in a wave of deaths due to exposure and disease. CNN reports that by January these mountain villages will probably be buried under 8 feet of snow. There is a very real risk that people will freeze to death for lack of adequate shelter. Tens of thousands need to seek assistance in relief camps at lower elevations, but many are reluctant to leave their villages. Medical Camps have seen more and more of those injured in the earthquake coming down out of the mountains to seek medical help. Unfortunately, many wounded limbs – untreated for weeks – are infected with gangrene and require amputation.
Helicopters continue to air drop relief supplies when the
weather permits it and the Pakistan Military is sending some
aid into the mountains by mule trains. The tents being
delivered are still far fewer than what is needed. The need
for emergency relief supplies will be replaced by the need
for building materials in the spring.
The United Church of Christ and the Christian Church
(Disciples of Christ) are responding through Church
World Service and our regional partners. Church World Service has assisted 35,945 people with shelter kits and 22,540 with Food Packages. A recent transport has brought 2500 blankets, 1020 tents with stoves, 5300 woolen sweaters and 4 omega tents from CWS Partner Churches in Norway and Finland. The National Council of Churches in Pakistan, a Global Ministries Partner, is working with CWS in the delivery of relief. Please consider giving an alternative Christmas gift to someone you love, or make a potentially life-saving gift from your family to a family who is spending the winter in a tent. Some ideas for you to consider:
$72 for Family Food Packages (contains wheat flour, rice, beans, cooking oil, sugar, tea, salt, matches and soap)
$172 for Emergency Shelter Kits (contains family sized tent, ground sheet, plastic sheet, iron poles and blankets)
$601 for House Reconstruction Kits (contains cement, iron beams, windows, doors and tin sheeting)
The CWS/ACT Appeal for relief to Pakistan/Kashmir is $22 million.
One Great Hour of Sharing and Week of Compassion are contributing to this appeal. Please give generously!
Please also be an ADVOCATE for the homeless in Pakistan/Kashmir:
The U.S. Government is helping to deliver relief, but has thus far given less than $50 million of the $156 million promised by President Bush. Please send a letter to the President, your senators and your congressperson encouraging them to follow through on all promised support. www.ucctakeaction.org