12 January 2006

Methodist charity raises £250,000 in Earthquake Relief Appeal

It's easy to underestimate the importance of simple things: a bar of soap, a warm blanket, someone to talk to about your hopes and fears. Yet in the aftermath of an emergency, simple things like these can save lives and rebuild hope.

Despite media predictions of compassion fatigue, churches and individual donors to the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) have already given £250,000 towards providing shelter, water and hygiene facilities and counselling for earthquake survivors in South Asia through Action by Churches Together (ACT).

Sher Shaider was one of the survivors. Months before the October earthquake, the ACT partner Church World Service (CWS) trained Sher and 1,500 other teachers in preparing for disasters and coping with their effects. As soon as the earthquake struck, Sher put his training to work in his own village: providing first aid to the wounded and helping to evacuate damaged buildings. But the work is far from over. He is now helping survivors to cope with the harsh winter: over 180,000 people are still living in tent villages and night time temperatures can sink lower than -12¼C.

CWS operates in the mountainous northern region where the earthquake struck, and so is all too familiar with the impact of natural disasters. 'The area is subject to mudslides, flash floods and earthquakes. You name it, you get it in the north,' explains Martin Pervez, CWS Director. CWS is trusted by local people to provide both the training and emergency relief they need.

MRDF Director, Kirsty Smith said 'The huge response to this appeal reminds us that we can rely on MRDF supporters to respond quickly and generously when disaster strikes. We are pleased to report that, despite devastation in the region, our partners are leading the way in providing relief and, most importantly, ensuring that people are prepared whenever the next crisis comes'.

To donate to MRDF, send cheques to Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF), 25 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5JR, call the Donations Hotline on 020 7224 4814, or visit www.mrdf.org.uk/give.htm.

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