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October 7, 2009

ELCIC Responds to Southeast Asia Disaster

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), through its partnership with Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), is appealing to its members for financial support for relief operations in the aftermath of multiple natural disasters that have struck Southeast Asia in the past week. CLWR is working in partnership with other members of the ACT International alliance to address people's basic needs in the affected region and support rehabilitation efforts.

To assist with immediate needs, the ELCIC is forwarding $5,000 from its Emergency Disaster Response Fund to CLWR, the ELCIC's partner in international relief and development. The fund, established by an anonymous gift, allows the ELCIC to allocate funds immediately when an emergency occurs.

In the Philippines, the government’s national disaster coordinating council says a total of 1.87 million people are affected by Tropical Storm Ketsana.  Up to 375,000 people are staying in 600 evacuation centres. ACT partners have initiated plans to address the needs of urban poor families through distribution of relief goods including food, water, clothes, candles, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, pots and pans.
 
The same storm system also severely damaged areas of Vietnam leading to the evacuation of 52,000 households. To date, 162,000 houses have been damaged and 6000 houses totally destroyed. Response activities are likely to focus on early recovery and rehabilitation, as people appear to be meeting their immediate relief needs, together with response by Government and other organizations. ACT partners will give priority to water and sanitation (rehabilitation and flood-proofing hand pumps, latrines, wells and hygiene promotion), repair and upgrading shelters, and restoring livelihoods (providing seeds and seedlings).
 
In Indonesia, a 7.6 Richter Scale quake has inflicted heavy damage on the Padang region. The death toll has reached over 1000 people, and is expected to rise further. Thousands are still trapped in several buildings in Padang city. A total of 10,062 houses in the district have collapsed. Around 19 public facilities are badly damaged; 50 schools are badly destroyed. ACT partners already in the damaged areas are beginning to address shelter, water, food and medical needs. More detailed reports on specific aid needs are expected in the coming days.
 
A series of four tsunamis struck Samoa as well as nearby American Samoa and some of the smaller islands of Tonga on Tuesday morning, local time, following a massive undersea quake about half an hour earlier. A State of Disaster was declared by the government and assistance requested from foreign missions and the United Nations. The Samoa Council of Churches has highlighted the need for food, drinking water and clothes.

Contributions for this emergency response can be made at http://www.clwr.org/donate or by calling toll-free 1.800.661.2597. Updates will be available at: http://www.clwr.org/What-We-Do/SouthAsia.cfm

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination with 162,100 baptized members in 611 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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