Friday, November 23, 2007

ELCA Initial Response for Bangladesh

ELCA Sends Initial Grant to Assist Bangladesh Cyclone Recovery

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Cyclone Sidr left more than 3,000 people
dead and millions homeless after it struck the coast of
Bangladesh in Southern Asia on Nov. 15. The Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America (ELCA), through its International Disaster
Response, is sending an initial $50,000 to assist disaster
response organizations that have mobilized to provide emergency
food, medical support and temporary shelter.
The cyclone triggered a 15-foot water surge that inundated
the coastal towns of Patuakhali, Barguna and Jhalakathi, with a
combined population of 700,000. Disaster response organizations
worldwide are providing survivors with basic necessities,
including water, rice, medicine and shelter.
ELCA funds are channeled through Action by Churches Together
(ACT). ACT's coordinated response will be implemented by several
faith-based organizations in Bangladesh, including Lutheran
Health Care Bangladesh (LHCB).
"We are sharing our resources and whatever we have with
those who are suffering in the areas that we serve. Please pray
for us at this time," said Benedict Bijoy Baroi, LHCB executive
"The devastation is widespread throughout the country, and
the effects go beyond the dead and the injured. Trees and power
lines are down, blocking roads and causing major electrical
blackouts throughout much of the country," Baroi reported. "Much
of the infrastructure in affected areas has been destroyed.
Drinking water is a major issue, as saline water has gotten into
drinking water in the coastal area, and carcasses -- both human
and animal -- have further polluted drinking water," he said.
In the aftermath of the cyclone, LHCB is giving out seven-
day supplies of food, water purification pills and other supplies
to 300 families. It plans to reach out to 5,000 families in the
Patuakhali and Madaripur districts, areas where LHCB actively
engages in such ongoing programs as digging deep wells.
Other ACT response organizations are Christian Commission
for Development Bangladesh, Social Health and Education
Development Board, the Church of Bangladesh and Christian Aid.
Coordinated by ELCA Global Mission, International Disaster
Response channels its funds through international church
organizations and relief agencies. ACT is a global alliance of
churches and related agencies working to save lives and support
communities in emergency situations worldwide. It is based with
the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World
Federation (LWF), in Geneva. The ELCA is a member of the WCC and
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The home page of Lutheran Health Care Bangladesh is at on the Web.

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