Magazine article The Christian Century

Relief Agencies Add Quake, Floods to List

Magazine article The Christian Century

Relief Agencies Add Quake, Floods to List

Article excerpt

Religious relief agencies, already faced with numerous disasters in the past year, have begun assisting survivors of a massive earthquake in South Asia.

After a 7.6-magnitude earthquake shook Pakistan, India and Afghanistan October 8, Catholic Relief Services staffers already based in the region were able to reach victims within six hours, said Sean Callahan, vice president of overseas operations of the Baltimore-based organization.

"This year has been an incredible emergency year," said Callahan, citing drought and hunger needs on the African continent as well as the more recent hurricanes and flooding that have struck the U.S. Gulf Coast and Central America.

"Since the Sudan situation of about a year ago and then the tsunami ... this last year has been incredible."

The Catholic charity has begun preparing food and shelter items for families hit by the quake even as it continues a five-year plan for those still recovering from the late-December tsunami that hit another section of Asia.

Meanwhile, other religious relief organizations are addressing old and new needs.

Church World Service is responding with food supplies and shelter kits for survivors in Pakistan, and its medical teams have started providing tetanus shots. Southern Baptist workers have furnished tents and other supplies to homeless families. Both groups also have been involved in relief efforts on the Gulf Coast.

More than a dozen U.S. Muslim groups pledged October 13 to raise $20 million to aid victims of the earthquake in South Asia that affected the large Muslim population in Pakistan and the Kashmir area. …

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