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UMCOR on USAID list for tsunami relief

 


UMCOR on USAID list for tsunami relief

Jan. 4, 2005

By Linda Bloom

NEW YORK (UMNS) -- The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is among the humanitarian agencies recognized by the U.S. government as providing assistance to tsunami-ravaged countries.

UMCOR has had "long-standing cooperative relationship" with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), according to Jim Cox, executive director of UMCOR's nongovernmental organization.

"USAID and UMCOR have jointly funded programs in both emergency and development programs worldwide," Cox told United Methodist News Service. "We work together on programs from the Congo to Afghanistan. We will be in coordination with USAID as we look at UMCOR's response to the tsunami."

On its Web site ( www.usaid.gov ), USAID has a list of "Relief Organizations Working in the Disaster Area" for Tsunami/earthquake relief. In addition to UMCOR, the agencies listed include Church World Service and Stop Hunger Now.

President Bush announced on Jan. 3 that two former presidents – his father, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton – will lead an effort to raise funds from U.S. businesses, individuals and foundations for tsunami relief. The USAID list provides options for those donors.

That private money will provide additional support to the $350 million already pledged in U.S. government funds.

About 150,000 people were killed and millions were left without basic services after the late December tsunami impacted 12 countries, mostly in South Asia. As of Jan. 1, the United Nations reported, more than $2 billion in pledges for aid had been received from some 40 countries. That amount is more than all pledges to all humanitarian appeals in 2004 combined, according to Jan Egeland, the U.N. emergency relief coordinator.

Representatives of the denomination's humanitarian relief agency met Jan. 4 with response partners today in Geneva, Switzerland, to gauge the scope and effectiveness of the disaster recovery so far. UMCOR is working with partners such as Church World Service, Action by Churches Together and Churches Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) to provide food, clean water, and temporary shelter in the affected regions.

Donations to UMCOR's "South Asia Emergency" relief efforts can be placed in local church offering plates or sent directly to UMCOR, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 330, New York, NY 10115. Designate checks for UMCOR Advance #274305 and "South Asia Emergency." Online donations can be made by going to www.methodistrelief.org. Those making credit-card donations can call (800) 554-8583.

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org

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