Methodist charity raises £250,000 in Earthquake Relief Appeal

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

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

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

CWS operates in the mountainous northern region where theearthquake struck, and so is all too familiar with the impact ofnatural disasters. 'The area is subject to mudslides, flash floodsand earthquakes. You name it, you get it in the north,' explainsMartin Pervez, CWS Director. CWS is trusted by local people toprovide both the training and emergency relief they need.

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

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