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September 18, 2008

GHDA Issues Appeal to Assist Storm-Ravaged Haitians; Region Devastated Following Four Storms in Three Weeks

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada's (ELCIC) Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA) is issuing a churchwide appeal for donations to assist with recovery efforts in Haiti following devastation in the region by a series of hurricanes and tropical storms. As many as 700 Haitians have died and more deaths are expected due to significant flooding of the area's agricultural region in what is already the poorest country in the Americas. At least 800,000 Haitians are in urgent need, nearly half of them children.

Over a three-week period starting in August, Haiti has been devastated by four storms - Tropical Storm Fay, Hurricane Gustav, Tropical Storm Hanna and Hurricane Ike - damaging homes, livelihoods, and crops, as well as entire road systems including seven of the country's key bridges which have been rendered unstable.

To assist with immediate needs, GDHA's Emergency Disaster Response Fund* is forwarding $5,000 to Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), GHDA's partner in international relief and development. CLWR is working through Action By Churches Together (ACT) International to assist with the critical need for water purification tablets and food buckets, as well as hygiene kits, blankets, medicine and other urgently needed items.

As people In Mission for Others, God calls us to do justice and love kindness. How can we help but respond to the needs of our sisters and brothers in Haiti? says ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson. Our National Church has committed funds through the GHDA Emergency Disaster Response Fund, but I hope and pray our members can give generously at this time.

Food shortages caused by the storms have many Haitians fearing a repeat of the violent food riots which occurred in spring 2008. Reports estimate that as much as 80 percent of the country's entire rice crop has been destroyed. In a region where many live on less than $2 a day, food shortages will likely put the price of rice beyond the means of most Haitian families.

To support relief efforts in Haiti, donations can be made to GHDA - Haiti Appeal as follows:

- Via the ELCIC Website: www.elcic.ca (click on the Donate Now link)
- By mail: GHDA, 302-393 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3H6 (please indicate GHDA - Haiti Appeal in the memo portion of the cheque)
- Through all ELCIC Congregations

The ELCIC has chosen to concentrate the current appeal on relief efforts in Haiti but also recognizes that in the wake of Hurricane Ike, the state of Texas was significantly impacted, especially in areas around Galveston. Current reports put the death toll at 30 as of Tuesday and officials are warning of a growing health threat in Galveston. ELCIC members wishing to contribute to relief efforts in those affected regions can forward donations to the ELCIC office. Funds designated for these efforts will be sent to Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Disaster Response which is actively working in the region.

Further information about the work of ELCIC's Global Hunger and Development Appeal can be viewed online at www.elcic.ca/ghda.

*GHDA's Emergency Disaster Response Fund, established by an anonymous gift, allows GHDA to allocate funds immediately when an emergency occurs and then replenish the Fund with donations to the churchwide appeal.

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

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For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

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