[saymaListserv] Fw: Quaker service organization commits $1m in aid to Katrina survivors

Mike Shell bright_crow at mindspring.com
Sat Sep 3 22:23:06 JEST 2005


Philadelphia, PA – September 2 — The American Friends
Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker humanitarian relief
organization, today earmarked a million dollars in immediate
assistance for survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

Anticipating what may be one of the largest U.S. relief
operations in its history,  AFSC has activated its emergency
response team to assess critical needs in the region and to
determine the most effective and efficient methods of
service delivery.  Staff in the southeastern region will
coordinate with Friends organizations and other groups in
the area and national outreach to key Quaker organizations
has begun.

AFSC general secretary Mary Ellen McNish expressed particular
concern about vulnerable populations – the poor, elderly, and
immigrant communities – who may have borne the brunt of the
hurricane's wrath.

Earlier this week, the Service Committee also designated
proceeds from its Crisis Fund to assist the thousands of homeless
and displaced people affected by the disaster.

“Families who were struggling prior to the disaster have been
dealt a knockout blow,” McNish states. “Thousands have been
left homeless and without food, water and other critical necessities.”

“Natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina, tend to intensify inequalities
that existed prior to their occurrence,” McNish adds. “The sheer
scale of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation is magnified by its
catastrophic impact on the poor, the elderly – people who were
forced to remain in harms way because they have no place to go
or were without financial means to leave the area.”

Backed by an 87-year history of humanitarian work, the
American Friends Service Committee has provided crucial,
life-saving assistance to people struggling for survival whether
caught in the crossfire of war or suffering the horrors of
earthquake or famine. The Service Committee is a co-recipient
of the Nobel Peace Prize, accepting on behalf of Quakers
worldwide for humanitarian relief efforts. AFSC helps those
who are suffering without regard to their religious, ethnic,
or political affiliation.

Funds raised in recent AFSC relief efforts helped in the
following ways:

Tsunami relief for devastated areas of Indonesia, including
setting up health stations — complete with medical personnel,
equipment and supplies —humanitarian teams and transit
posts in the Aceh Province;

Drilling emergency wells, setting up water treatment
equipment and portable water tanks in devastated areas of Iraq,

Sending medical supplies to aid victims of last year’s train
explosion in North Korea.

Aid to immigrant farm and nursery workers, and decent housing
for low-income residents in South Florida after Hurricane Andrew

Long-term recovery and development projects for flood disaster
victims and rural farmers in Iowa

“Working collaboratively to relieve pain and suffering has been a
major focus of the Service Committee’s highly regarded international
affairs work,” McNish explains. “The key is to identify approaches
that the people who have been most affected feel are vitally
needed and will strengthen the community as a whole.”

Donations to the AFSC Crisis Fund should be made payable and be
sent to AFSC Development, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102.
To contribute via Visa or MasterCard, call 1-888-588-2372, ext. 1,
or through the AFSC website at http://www.afsc.org

                             # # #

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization
that includes people of various faiths who are committed to
social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based
on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power
of love to overcome violence and injustice.

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