18 February 2005

Guyana Methodist District calls for aid after devastating floods

The President of the Guyana Methodist District has called for aid after the worst rainfall in over a century caused widespread flooding. So far 29 people have died as a result, with most deaths caused by water-born diseases after the floodwater overwhelmed sewerage systems.

The Rev Barrington Litchmore, President of the Guyana District, said in a letter "more than half of the country's 750,000 population have been affected. Significant numbers have lost 80-90% of their possessions."

Relief efforts by the Guyana government have begun, with assistance from the U.S., UK, Brazil, Venezuela and Chile.

Mr Litchmore says 'some churches have provided their facilities as centres for the distribution of foodstuffs and other items. Others, including many Methodist churches, are engaged in the procurement and distribution of food hampers, using funds from their own resources. Some circuits are mobilizing our lay leadership to create a more effective reporting and distribution system. We believe that a timely response to the critical junctures of their crisis will be necessary for the ongoing reconstruction of lives and property."

Items needed include non-perishable food, drinking water, cleaning agents, medical supplies, mattresses, utensils, sheets, towels, clothing and household articles.

The Rev Tom Quenet, Methodist World Church Secretary for the Americas and the Caribbean, says "on hearing about the situation in Guyana, we made an immediate donation of £5000 from the Fund for World Mission. But it is evident that the scale of the flooding means that Guyana will need a lot more help to rebuild. We will continue to offer aid and support to the Methodist Church in Guyana as it plays a vital role in aiding people and reconstructing communities."

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