Following a cyclone in India April 13 and an earthquake in China April 14, Episcopal Relief & Development has reached out to its partners in affected areas to offer support.
The cyclone, which struck areas of India and Bangladesh, left more than 100 people dead. Winds of up to 75 miles per hour uprooted trees, downed power lines and destroyed an estimated 100,000 homes. Episcopal Relief & Development's partner in the region, the Diocese of Durgapur, has been providing shelter and immediate relief for those left homeless by the storm.
With aid from Episcopal Relief & Development, the diocese will continue to support more than 100 families with clothes, shelter and other supplies. These families are receiving food items as well, including rice, dal, oil and salt. Assistance from the agency will also enable the diocese to support workers who are clearing rubble and debris left in the storm's wake.
"Because of the diocese's longstanding presence in the affected area of West Bengal, there is already an amazing level of trust from the community," said Nagulan Nesiah, Episcopal Relief & Development program officer. "The existing relationships of our partners have enabled us to act swiftly and effectively in the wake of these recent disasters. In both countries, the local populations and authorities are counting on our partners to provide relief in the areas hardest hit."
A 7.1- magnitude earthquake hit China's Yushu prefecture in the northwestern province of Qinghai April 14. The most recent figures indicate that this quake killed more than 2,000 people and injured at least 12,000 more.
Episcopal Relief & Development is assisting its partner the Amity Foundation in providing relief to those most affected by this disaster. Amity staff traveled to Yushu the morning following the quake to provide relief in the region's rural villages. They have been working to supply families with food items like flour, rice and beef sausages, as well as other supplies including tents, water, blankets and clothing.
The provision of shelter and blankets is especially important as temperatures in this mountainous region are currently close to freezing. For the many that have been left homeless and exposed to the elements, Amity's assistance has been invaluable. As one villager said, "People from thousands of miles away care about us, bring us food and drinks. You have given us hope for life."
"On Earth Day, we should be particularly mindful of how climate change and other environmental changes are impacting the communities we serve around the world," said Nesiah. "Please keep all of those affected by these most recent disasters in your thoughts and prayers as we work with our partners to meet their needs."
To learn more about Episcopal Relief & Development's programs or to support our work, please visit www.er-d.org or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to Episcopal Relief & Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.