Venezuela

Venezuelan donations hit the end of the line

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Pittsburgh, January 27, 2000 - A fact-finding trip is scheduled for February 6 - 11 to check on the distribution of Venezuelan relief aid to people affected by December's natural disaster. 175 tons of relief supplies were sent to that country using donations received over the past six weeks. A BBF representative will join members of Pittsburgh's Venezuelan-American community to confirm that relief supplies are reaching the people most in need of assistance.
The remainder of 22 containers of food and requested relief supplies are scheduled to reach the area of Venezuela devastated by floods and mudslides in February. Early shipments of pharmaceuticals and rescue equipment have already been distributed by Venezuelan Rotary Clubs and the Venezuelan Civil Defense Corps.. Later shipments from Heinz and General Mills will arrive in port by February 7th, in time for a review by the Pittsburgh delegation.

Brother's Brother Foundation President, Luke Hingson will travel to Caracas, Venezuela with Maria Emperatriz Ruiz-Merroth, co-coordinator of Pittsburgh's Venezuelan Relief Committee and Associate at the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Joining them will be Guillermo Ascanio, a member and representative of the Pittsburgh area Rotary who has also been involved in the coordination and shipping arrangements of the donated supplies.

The purpose of the trip is to review the status of reclamation projects now underway in the northern sections of Venezuela destroyed in mid December flooding. Members of BBF's delegation are scheduled to meet with newly-named Vice President of Venezuela, Dr. Isais Rodriguez, John F. Maisto, American Ambassador to Venezuela, local Venezuelan Rotary members who are assisting in the transportation and distribution of supplies, and also with relief workers in direct contact with victims of the floods and mudslides. A presentation of goods to local Rotary workers is planned for February 7th when members of the delegation will meet with representatives of Heinz and MSA's Venezuelan offices.

The Pittsburgh group is interested in seeing that appropriate relief supplies reach those most in need, and dealing directly with those individuals and organizations who have assisted Brother's Brother in this most recent response to an international disaster. Delegation members will provide photo and video documentation of December's tragedy, current relief and reclamation projects, and the impact of BBF's efforts on people in the Vargas region of Venezuela.

Brother's Brother Foundation is a 41-year old Pittsburgh-based international charity which has provided 63,000 tons of medical supplies, textbooks, food, seed and other humanitarian supplies to those in need in over 100 countries since 1958. BBF has responded to five disasters over the past year: Hurricane Mitch in Central America, the conflict in Kosovo, earthquakes in Turkey in August and November, and this current disaster in Venezuela. To date, over 1,300 tons of relief supplies have been sent by the BBF to the survivors of these disasters.

Contributions may be made to:

Brother's Brother Foundation/Venezuela
1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 3005
Pittsburgh, PA 15233

CONTACT: MICHELE FONDA
TELEPHONE: 412-321-3160