MRDF Tsunami Appeal Tops £155,000

The Methodist Relief and Development Fund's appeal to aid thevictims of the Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami has reached morethan £155,000. The appeal, which as launched on 27 December, isstill open, but MRDF's Kevin Fray says that the response so far hasbeen astounding.

"When we launched the appeal" says Kevin, "we had no idea that itwould be so successful so quickly. The generosity of the Methodistpeople and others who have given has been tremendous. On behalf ofMRDF, and the partners through whom the money is being channelled,I thank everyone who has given so freely."

MRDF's appeal will be channelled through ecumenical partners,mainly Action by Churches Together. The money raised by MRDF can besent immediately to areas where it is needed. MRDF partners inIndia are providing clothing, medical care and support for fishingfamilies whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed by thetsunami. The Christian Weaker Section Development Society (CWSDS),featured in last year's MRDF Harvest Pack, is among thoseorganisations providing counselling, care and practical help forsurvivors. "The affected people badly need food, drinking water,clothes and medicines," explained Mr Raj, CWSDS Co-ordinator, "OurChristian conscience cannot keep quiet when the situation is sobad."

ACT partners in Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka are also respondingto immediate needs and providing long-term help. MRDF has alreadypassed on all the money raised to date. This has been spent on:truckloads of food and water to remote communities; transport tosafe areas for people affected by flooding; emergency feedingprogrammes in churches and schools; blankets, clothing and cookingequipment; house reconstruction programmes; trauma counselling.Through MRDF's partners, aid is going quickly and directly topeople who need it. Kevin Fray says "all your gifts are useful. £12buys 10 blankets. £24 buys replacement sets of cooking utensils for10 families, while £100 buys 20 polythene sheets to provide shelterfor those who lost their homes."

But MRDF wants people to think about another recently launchedinitiative. Throughout 2005, under the title of Make PovertyHistory, there will be a series of events designed to try andchange the policies that keep so much of the world in poverty Thefirst public event in the year will be a march by Dawn French andwomen clergy to Downing Street.

"In the six days between the earthquake and New Year, "says KevinFray, "as many people died of preventable causes brought on bypoverty as died in the tsunami. Make Poverty History isn't aboutgiving money, but rather giving time and energy. We have beenoverwhelmed by the kindness with which people have given to theMRDF appeal: what we ask now is that people give their effort tobacking Make Poverty History. Worldwide about 30,000 people aredying every day because of poverty that comes from the unfair wayswe run the global economy."

The Make Poverty History campaign draws on the fact that in 2005the UK has the presidency of the EU and the G8 group of nations.Both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are backing the goals of thecampaign, but for action to take place other governments need tosign up as well. "Britain has a chance to use its leadership in2005 to make the world a better, fairer place," says Kevin Fray."Make Poverty History is a chance to enable poorer countries toshare in the world's wealth and growth so that they eventuallywon't need aid."


Notes: 1) To send donations or request further resources, pleasecontact:
Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF), 25 Marylebone Road,London NW1 5JR. tel: 020 7467 5132 e-mail: mrdf@methodistchurch.org.ukCharity no. 291691

Donations can be sent by post or made by credit or debit card bycalling 020 7224 4814.
Cheques should be made payable to MRDF, and indicate on a coveringnote that they are for the
Asian Tsunami Emergency Appeal. You can also order gift aidenvelopes for church collections.

Further information: Visit www.mrdf.org.uk or e-mail mrdf@methodistchurch.org.ukto receive Lifelines monthly e-newsletter.

2) More information about Make Poverty History can be found at http://www.makepovertyhistory.org/home.html