Bangladesh + 3 more

CRS commits $5 million to South Asia monsoon response

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August 8, 2007, New Delhi-Catholic Relief Services CRS today announced its increase in funding to $5 million for monsoon relief across South Asia. The initial funding will support relief efforts underway by CRS staff and partners in Pakistan, India, Nepaland Bangladesh.

"The people whose lives have been turned upside down are typically, even in good times, the forgotten ones -- the marginalized, the ones who few people look out for. To have the support of people around the world is transformative on the ground. It translates to people getting clean drinking water, food for their children, dry and safe shelter, and a better chance that they will overcome this disaster without a long-term, devastating impact," said Jennifer Poidatz, CRS India country representative, from Delhi.

The announcement comes a day after CRS purchased 200 metric tons of high-protein, fortified biscuits (enough to fill 15 large trucks) for people in the northern, flood-ravaged Indian state of Bihar- a state plagued by malnutrition long before the floods. The food will be enough for a 10-day ration for 400,000 women and children, and distributed in collaboration with local government, Caritas Indiaand Unicef.

CRS South Asia Relief Efforts to Date

India

CRS has reached an estimated 50,000 families in India with emergency medical care, plastic sheeting to cover damaged sections of their homes, food, and water filters to for safe cooking and drinking. Over the past month, CRS has been working with local partners and the government to carry out relief operations in five states-from Andhra Pradesh in the South to Orissa on the eastern coast.

Pakistan

CRS has prioritized water and shelter in remote areas of Pakistan's Sindh and Balochistan provinces, which suffered the worst flooding and cyclone damage in decades. The disaster posed enormous logistical challenges with regard to access and transportation of materials. Given its history and partnerships in the country, CRS was among the first to respond in the area and to date has reached 6,500 families with relief kits, hygiene training, and water purification tablets.

Bangladesh

In Bangladesh more than half of the country's districts (47 districts out of 64) are flooded and in need of relief. CRS' partner distributed food to 10,000 families so far, and continue to carry out assessments in the most heavily affected areas, paying special attention to issues of clean water and threat of water-borne disease-common dangers during floods due to water run-off and contamination of wells, ponds and other water sources.

Nepal

The devastation covers a large swath of the country, making relief efforts especially difficult. From east to west, the most damage is felt in the lowland (Terai) belt that borders India. Flood waters have destroyed houses, crops and food stocks, and left many farm animals dead. CRS' partner, Caritas Nepal, has distributed immediate emergency relief to several thousand families in four districts, and staff and partners are carrying out assessments around the most vulnerable areas of Janakpur.

For interviews, photos or more information, contact:

Caroline Brennan in New Delhiat +91.93.50.96.79.99 / cbrennan@crsindia.org or Kat Burnside in Baltimoreat 410-951-7507 /kburnsid@crs.org.

CRS has worked in India since 1946, in Pakistan since 1951, and supported programs in Bangladeshand Nepalfor more than 30 years. Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian organization of the U.S. Catholic Church, and works in 99 countries and territories providing emergency relief and long-term development support to people on the basis of need, regardless of race, creed, or nationality.