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ERD provides food supplies to families in Zambia, relief to flood victims in India

8/26/2005
[Episcopal News Service]  Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is expanding its efforts to reach people affected by the food crisis in Africa by providing emergency assistance in eastern Zambia. Erratic rainfall and prolonged dry spells in the Eastern province of Zambia, especially in the Luangwa Valley, have caused a dramatic decrease in crop production. An estimated 1.2 million people in the country need food aid.

"Most of Central Africa has suffered from a very bad drought, the worst in over a decade. Crops have failed, especially maize, which people rely upon to make their staple food, nshima," said Bishop William Muchombo of Eastern Zambia. "The high price of food, coupled with poverty, especially in rural areas, means people cannot afford enough maize to feed their families. I am seeing people selling their few possessions and animals to buy food at exorbitant prices."

On behalf of Episcopalians, ERD is providing emergency assistance to the Diocese of Eastern Zambia for food supplies, such as maize. The support will help the diocese provide immediate relief to hungry families.

"This crisis will get worse until the next harvest, which is not until May of next year," said Muchombo.

To make a contribution to help people affected by this crisis, donate to the Africa Relief Fund at www.er-d.org, or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development, Africa Relief Fund, PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101.

Indian floods

ERD is also providing emergency assistance to people affected by severe floods in the western state of Maharashtra in India after heavy rains one month ago. More than 1,000 people have been killed and more than 20 million others have been affected by the floods. Mumbai, the capital, has been particularly hard hit.

Rains have caused landslides, displacing thousands, and destroying at least 10,000 homes in the districts of Mumbai, Sindhudurg, Sangli, and Ratnagiri Raigad. Public buildings, health centers, schools, and other infrastructure have been affected by the floods which have also paralyzed rail, road, and air traffic.

On behalf of Episcopalians, ERD is providing emergency relief to people in Maharashta through a feeding program serving the most vulnerable populations, including women and children. ERD is partnering with Action by Church Together International to respond to the emergency and supply families with critical aid such as cooked food, potable water, dry ration kits, clothing, blankets, and hygiene kits.

To make a contribution to help people immediately after disasters, donate to the Emergency Relief Fund at www.er-d.org, or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to Episcopal Relief and Development, Emergency Relief Fund, PO Box 12043, Newark, NJ 07101.