On 29 May 2010, a low pressure system developed into a tropical storm over Central America, spanning the area from Guatemala to Nicaragua. Since then, the storm has killed at least 145 people - 118 in Guatemala, 17 in Honduras, nine in El Salvador and one in Nicaragua. Dozens of people are still missing after landslides and floods destroyed entire communities. El Salvador and Honduras have declared red alerts. In Guatemala, the government has declared a State of Public Calamity.
On 1 June, the Central America Action by Churches Together (ACT) Forum hosted a teleconference of national forum coordinators of affected countries. Results of the preliminary assessment by the forums indicate that each country has been affected differently. Worst affected is Guatemala, because of the eruption of the Pacaya volcano week before, and because of the strength of tropical storm Agatha. In Guatemala, ACT members and WoC partners have already supported clean-up activities at community level, provided shelter and assisted with evacuation of the population.
As an immediate response, the ACT Alliance schedules distribution of food, and non-food assistance, such as hygiene kits, kitchen utensils and water filters. Rehabilitation activities will includedistribution of seeds, agricultural inputs and tools and technical assistance for small holders, in particular those with children, women and elderly.
CWS is supporting efforts by fellow ACT Alliance members. Among those responding is the Conference of Evangelical Churches of Guatemala (CIEDEG), a long-time CWS partner.
Oil Spill in the Gulf
The damage done by the oil spill in the gulf has been shocking. For those who live in the Gulf, there are ways to get help and to contribute in safe, appropriate ways.
Needs Continue in Haiti
As Amy reflected earlier this week, Haiti continues to face challenges in rebuilding. Two of our partners, Chris Herlinger of Church World service and Rick Santos of IMA World Health, have recently made the media rounds, raising awareness of the need for continued work in Haiti. You can read Chris's story here and Rick's here.
Support the International Violence Against Women Act of 2010 so you can help stop violence against women and girls worldwide:
Currently, one in every three women and girls worldwide is physically, sexually or otherwise abused during her lifetime. In some countries it's two in three. If enacted by Congress, the provisions of this act would help millions of girls and women around the world escape violence and related poverty. Learn more here.
Eureka College--A Courageous Campus
Week of Compassion Salutes Eureka College for their work in response to the earthquake in Haiti. Though not a "congregation" in the strictest sense of the word, we celebrate the contributions of the entire campus by recognizing them as a "Courageous Campus" in our "Courageous Congregation" feature.