MRDF launches £50,000 earthquake appeal for India and El Salvador

The Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) is appealingfor support to aid the survivors of the recent earthquakes in ElSalvador and India.

The severe earthquake of 26 January that hit the Indian state ofGujurat is now being held responsible for between 50,000 to 100,000deaths and for leaving several thousand families without homes orbelongings. Many smaller towns and villages are inaccessible andsome have been completely erased from the map. One third of thestate's population is living under the open sky without shelter,protection, food or medicines. With no water, electricity andsanitation facilities, there is a serious threat of an epidemicresulting from the thousands of decomposing bodies contaminatingwater supplies.

MRDF's Manager, Kirsty Smith, said: "We have launched thisappeal in response to a request for assistance from a number ofMRDF partners in India, and particularly Action by ChurchesTogether (ACT). They began distributing relief in Kutch District onthe second day after the earthquake but have informed us thatrelief lorries are jamming the roads around the major reliefcentres while many outlying villages are left fending forthemselves. ACT is focusing on providing shelter, food, water andclothing to survivors, particularly in the more remote villages sofar ignored by other aid agencies."

ACT staff member Rainer Lang reports from the small village ofDhayra: "The villagers collect wood from their collapsed homes anduse it for firewood when preparing their first warm meal since theearthquake struck. Wood from broken down homes is also used forfunerals. Along with food and water, blankets and shelter areabsolutely crucial - temperatures drop to 5-7 C at night andwithout a house or your old clothes this gets very cold - not leastfor small children and the elderly."

How £15 can make a difference in Gujarat

ACT plans to distribute at least 35,000 locally procuredemergency kits in the initial phase of the emergency. Each kitconsists of:

  • Men's and women's clothing
  • Blanket
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Lantern
  • Tarpaulin
  • Dry food ration: 7 kg rice, 2 kg flour, 1 kg lentils, 1 litreedible oil
  • Match box and candles

For further information or to make a donation to help earthquakevictims contact MRDFAppeal, Methodist Relief and Development Fund, 25Marylebone Rd, London NW1 5JR. Tel: 020 7486 5502.