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CWS Hotline - 18 Aug 2008: Georgia, Pakistan/Afghanistan, USA

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Republic of Georgia

"With United Nations estimates as high as 100,000 people displaced by this conflict, the time to help can no longer wait," says CWS Emergency Response Program Director Donna Derr. Hostilities between Russian and Georgian forces in the disputed region of South Ossetia, Georgia, and bombing in and around the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and the city of Gori, have caused many families to flee for shelter and safety. "People are escaping violence quite literally with only the clothes on their backs, and in need of food and shelter," continues Derr.

CWS is supporting two local partners, the Civic Development Institute and GENESIS, as well as Action by Churches Together members, the Russian Orthodox Church and International Orthodox Christian Charities. The ROC has begun delivery of relief assistance to refugees in nearby North Ossetia, in Russia. Other ACT members present in the region and internationally are mobilizing resources in support of local communities. Initial relief supplies provided have included foodstuffs, clothes and medicines.

"We have more than 60 years of experience helping the most vulnerable populations recover from conflict," Derr says. "As our partners in the region begin to grapple with the effects of this violence, we stand ready to support them."


After the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan flattened villages and killed more than 80,000 people, CWS-Pakistan/Afghanistan's Marvin Parvez coordinated a response that ranged from feeding and housing survivors in the first days, to vocational training to help young men learn skills they could use to support their families.

Because of his exceptional work in responding to people in need, Parvez, CWS regional representative for South Asia, has been named "Accountability Ambassador" by the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership, a self-regulatory partnership of aid agencies.

The objective is to help vulnerable people improve their lives, Parvez explains. "We've found that the best way to do that is to strengthen their own ability to cope and to help them and their local organizations learn to manage disasters and to plan, implement and sustain post-disaster development.

"An important part of attaining that goal," he says, "lies in making sure that organizations understand that they must respect the dignity, the desires and the rights of the people they are assisting."


Affected families in flood-ravaged parts of the Midwest continue to receive assistance through Church World Service. Most recently, CWS provided 99 CWS Baby Kits, 112 School Kits, 132 Hygiene Kits and 50 Emergency Clean-up Buckets for distribution to flood survivors in Madison, Wisconsin. And in Janesville, Wisconsin, St. John Dianney Church received 105 CWS Baby Kits, 210 School Kits, 260 Hygiene Kits, 100 Emergency Clean-up Buckets, and 100 CWS Blankets for families there.

In Waterloo, Iowa, the Northeast Iowa Food Bank received 1,020 CWS School Kits, while the Backbone Area Counseling Center received 210 School Kits for emergency needs there.

Contributions may be made online to this recovery.