MRDF LAUNCHES ASIA EARTHQUAKE APPEAL

The Methodist Relief and Development Fund has launched an appeal to aid the victims of the earthquake that struck Asia and has so far caused about 22,000 deaths. Anyone wishing to contribute to the appeal should send a cheque payable to MRDF to 25 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5JR, with a covering note saying that it is for the Asian earthquake fund.

Kevin Fray, MRDF Supporter Relations Co-ordinator , said "many of us were shocked to see the scenes of destruction after the earthquake and waves struck across a wide part of the Asia Pacific region. MRDF will send the funds raised to the local relief agencies who need it most. We will as usual work closely with ACT to ensure that donations go quickly and effectively to those who are suffering."

MRDF partner Action by Churches Together (ACT) has already started aiding efforts by ecumenical church groups to provide food, shelter and medical supplies to the affected areas. In Sri Lanka, where more than 5,800 people are said to have died, the National Council of Churches in Sri Lanka (NCCSL) reports that two truckloads of essential food items and water will leave today for Muttur in Trincomalee and the other to Thirukovil in Batticaloa, two of the worst hit areas.

In India, ACT member Church's Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) reports that 12 teams have been deployed, both assisting and assessing needs of people in the coastal areas. Four strategic operational points are being set up: two in Tamil Nadu at Trichy and Drinamvenny, one in Andhra Pradesh, and another one in Kerala to assist some 50,000 families. The official death toll in India so far is more than 4,000 people. CASA however reports that the churches in the coastal regions are reporting more deaths as news trickles in from smaller and more remote villages and areas.

In Indonesia , where more than 4,400 people are believed to have died, ACT members Yayasan Tanggul Benkana (YTB), Yakkum Emergency Unit/CD Bethesda (YEU) and Church World Service (CWS) are co-ordinating their response to the emergency. CWS will conduct a rapid assessment mission to Aceh this week, working with a team from YEU. YTB reports that figures received from Aceh province puts those displaced at some 150,000 people. YEU will also be sending an assessment team to North Sumatra. 
 
Note: More information on ACT and its work in this and other areas is available at http://act-intl.org/act_main_title.html

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