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CWS responding to weather emergencies in India, China, and Pakistan

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NEW YORK CITY -- Humanitarian agency Church World service is accepting donations to help provide emergency food, clothing, shelter, and other supplies for victims of disasters in the Asian nations of India, China, and Pakistan.

Tens of millions of people in these countries are struggling to put their lives back together in the aftermath of torrential rains and other weather disasters that devastated entire areas. Church World Service's assistance will supplement efforts by churches and other aid agencies to respond to these crises of enormous magnitude.

The humanitarian emergencies brought on by the torrential rains are particularly severe this year and many communities are facing a very difficult situation, according to Mr. Sushant Agrawal, the director of Church's Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), in India, a long-time partner of Church World Service. "When you lose everything it is very hard to recover. People have lost their houses and belongings. The standing crops are gone. The flood has destroyed the total source of their livelihood."

In the Indian states of Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa, at least 340 people are reported dead and another 45 million people have been affected in some way by the storms and flooding. CWS assistance will include clothing, blankets, cooked and dry foods, tablets for purifying water, and help repairing or rebuilding homes.

In central and eastern China, a reported 332 people have perished in massive flooding, and another 5.4 million now are dealing with the aftereffects of the disaster. Areas affected by the flooding include Guangdong, Yunnan, Guangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan, Henan, Jiangsu, Anhui, Hubei, Hunan, Inner Mongolia, Qinghai, Chongqing, Hebei, and Shandong provinces.

CWS emergency assistance will consist of rice, quilts, sheets and mosquito nets for at least 4,000 vulnerable families in Chongqing Municipality and in Anhui and Jiangsu provinces. The agency also hopes to receive enough in donations to help with repair damaged homes, schools and clinics.

A member of the Action by Churches Together (ACT) global alliance of churches and agencies working to support communities in emergencies, CWS will work through its local partner agencies--also ACT members--to deliver assistance in both countries

Pakistan Response

With its long history and significant operational presence in Pakistan, Church World Service has been able to respond immediately and comprehensively to devastating storms, cyclones, and heavy rains in southern Pakistan. Staff and volunteers from Church World Service-Pakistan continue to assist more than 20,000 families whose lives have been disrupted.

The affected areas include the coastal regions of Sindh and Balochistan provinces, Karachi, and southern Balochistan. Hundreds of people in the region have lost their lives in the disasters and some two million other people are struggling to recover from massive destruction of homes, food shortages, water contamination, crop damage, loss of livestock, and outbreaks of disease.

CWS is easing the hardship in the target areas of Gadap Town, Thatta District, and Turbat District by providing building supplies; health and hygiene services and kits; water, sanitation and psychosocial services; and by training aid workers.

Church World Service is the relief, development, and refugee assistance agency of 35 Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican denominations in the United States.

Contributions to support this work may be sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN, 46515. Contributions may also be made by credit card online, or by calling: (800) 297-1516, ext. 222.

Media Contact:

Lesley Crosson, CWS/New York, 212-870-2676; lcrosson@churchworldservice.org