A NEWS RELEASE
From Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA)
Winnipeg, October 20, 2005 (ELCIC)-- Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA), of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), is accepting donations to support relief efforts after an earthquake hit parts of the south Asian subcontinent on Saturday morning, October 8. Any person or congregation wishing to contribute to relief efforts can send donations to GHDA. Please mark your cheque GHDA: Pakistan / India Earthquake Appeal or go online to http://www.elcic.ca and click on 'Donate Now.'
The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has created an Earthquake Response Fund equivalent to the monetary donations made by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charitable organizations between October 8 and October 26, 2005. To be eligible for matching, the donations to these charities must be specifically earmarked as noted above. [Ed. Note: The cheques must be dated between October 8 and October 26, 2005.]
The earthquake was centered in the mountains of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, near the Indian border, about 95 km (60 miles) northeast of Islamabad. New figures released by regional officials on Wednesday pushed the death toll to more than 79,000, about half each in Pakistani-held Kashmir and the country's North West Frontier province.
Meanwhile, two strong aftershocks from the earthquake shook the devastated region on Wednesday, unleashing landslides and setting off another wave of panic among survivors who lost loved ones and homes in the Oct. 8 disaster. Despite brisk sorties of helicopters delivering aid to quake victims, an estimated half-million survivors, many of them in Pakistan's portion of Kashmir, have yet to receive any help since the magnitude 7.6 quake levelled entire villages. Thousands need urgent medical care.
The World Food Programme reports that some 500,000 people in remote areas have received no aid at all. One of the biggest problems is meeting the demand for tents that can provide shelter.
The UN says the shortfall in aid for victims of the South Asian quake has made the relief situation worse than after last December's tsunami. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called for the global relief effort to be increased to help three million people made homeless and facing the fierce Himalayan winter without shelter. "That means a second, massive wave of death will happen if we do not step up our efforts now," he said. Mr Annan said that in the most affected areas hospitals, schools, water systems and roads had all been destroyed.
Designated funds received by GHDA will be sent on to Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR). CLWR will respond mainly through Action by Churches Together (ACT), a global alliance of churches and related agencies, including the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), working to save lives and support communities in emergencies worldwide. Church World Service (CWS), which has maintained relief and development operations in Pakistan for more than 25 years, is coordinating ACT's activities in the area. Initial CWS relief plans include providing emergency food packages for those most affected, as well as shelter kits and medical services. Long-term efforts will focus on assisting with food and housing reconstruction kits.
The GHDA Disaster Response Fund has allowed for a quick, initial response; $5,000 has already been authorized for the Pakistan / India Earthquake relief efforts. [Thanks to an anonymous gift in 2000, GHDA established the Disaster Response Fund which allows GHDA to allocate funds immediately when an emergency occurs and then replenish the fund with donations which are contributed through church-wide appeals.]
Donations can be made:
- Online at http://www.elcic.ca/ghda/index.html
- By mail to GHDA at 302-383 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3H6
- Through your congregation
Please ensure that you mark your cheque: GHDA: Pakistan / India Earthquake Appeal. A tax receipt will be issued.
When you donate through GHDA, 100% of your gift will be used as you designate, unless you donate online, in which case CanadaHelps receives 3% of each gift, to cover their administration costs.
Please keep in your prayers those who are suffering loss, those who now find themselves homeless, and those who are grieving.