SIERRA LEONE "Thanks
to Church World Service for helping to bring us here," says Binta
Bah, a Sierra Leonean refugee, who, along with her two sons and sister,
was resettled in the U.S. with the help of the CWS Immigration and Refugee
Program. She lost her husband and baby daughter and her home because of
the ongoing war there. In Sierra Leone, Binta Bah sold goods in the local
marketplace and her husband was an inspector in the diamond mines. She
and two surviving children, and her sister, are among the 161 refugees
from Sierra Leone resettled in the U.S. by CWS this year.
In a Nov. 2 letter, CWS and other humanitarian organizations urged U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and National Security Affairs Advisor Samuel R. Berger to fund a demilitarization program in Sierra Leone that would support the West African nation's peace process, and provide incentives for soldiers to transition into civilian life.
In the past year, CWS has provided some $45,000 to partners within Sierra Leone who are working to provide both emergency and development assistance to families suffering because of violence and displacement. This included helping to provide food and other emergency relief for some 15,000 of the most vulnerable people, primarily in the Brookfield area of Freetown, and a shipment of CWS Health and School Kits, valued at more than $1 million.
TURKEY At least 710 people were killed by the quake which rocked the northwestern province of Bolu on Nov. 12. It hit less than three months after the destructive Aug. 17 earthquake, which killed more than 17,000 people.
Though less severe than the earlier earthquake, "...for Duzce and Kaynarca, it's a bit like kidney failure after a heart attack... The water systems are destroyed... Sanitation and shelter -- tents and toilets -- once again are very clearly the top priority," reports Alan "Mick" McCain, a United Church of Christ missioner working with ACT/Turkey. CWS is helping to provide tents, blankets, health supplies, and layettes to survivors of both the November and August quakes. Since the August earthquake, CWS has been working with ACT and the Christian Churches in Turkey Steering Committee for Disaster Relief to help provide bedding, winterized tents fitted with heating stoves, tarps, food, sanitation facilities, and other supplies to families in affected areas. CWS has provided $100,000 in CWS Blanket Funds for these efforts.
Some 200,000 Chechens displaced by Russian military air strikes and artillery shelling are seeking safety in nearby Ingushetia, Daghestan, and North Ossetia. With the onset of winter, many of the refugees face harsh conditions, and are suffering from lack of shelter, food, and medical care.
Church World Service is seeking $125,000 to assist Action by Churches Together (ACT) in meeting emergency needs in the Chechnya region with blankets, food items, medical aid, sanitation supplies, shelter, and trauma counseling.
KOSOVO Relief and recovery efforts continue in Kosovo. CWS, as part of the Action by Churches Together consortium, is helping to provide winterized shelter, school reconstruction, food and material aid, water sanitation, landmine clearing, social community development, and food security. ACT is working to expand its program in Kosovo by providing an additional 1,000 prefabricated shelters (500 have already been delivered), along with woodstoves and firewood to the most vulnerable families whose homes were destroyed in the conflict. An additional 2,000 woodstoves with firewood are going to families already with shelter. ACT is also establishing a winterized camp, using 50 of the prefabricated shelters, for a group of 50 Roma families camped north of Mitrovica.