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Habitat issues emergency appeal to aid quake victims

Habitat for Humanity issues appeal to aid quake victims

AMERICUS, Ga. (Dec. 27, 2004) – Habitat for Humanity International is issuing an emergency appeal to raise funds to help facilitate recovery and rebuilding in Asia following the earthquake and gigantic waves that killed thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands over the weekend.

The initial quake, which struck off the coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island around 7 a.m. Sunday, measured 8.9 to 9 in magnitude on the Richter scale and triggered enormous tidal waves which swept across the Indian Ocean, striking coastal regions of Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Burma and Malaysia. More than 116,000 are feared killed.

Though specific damage details are yet unknown, Habitat for Humanity has a presence or works in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh. “We are getting word back from staff there just how hard hit the area is,” said Steve Weir, vice president of the Asia/Pacific office for Habitat for Humanity International.

“Coastal areas were just overrun by gigantic waves. Habitat’s work in Sri Lanka appears to be the hardest hit. Many areas were just crushed, but we have two affiliates there we have not yet been able to reach.

“The devastation appears to be immense,” he added.

Funds raised in this appeal will be used to help Habitat families who were displaced or affected by the disaster and to help facilitate more house-building in areas where there are now even more families in need of safe and decent shelter.

Habitat is among many non-governmental organizations moving to provide whatever aid they can, including Oxfam, an international humanitarian organization, the American Red Cross, CARE USA, Catholic Relief Services, Direct Relief International,

To contribute, please visit www.habitat.org.

Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Ga., is a Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. By the end of 2005, Habitat will have built its 200,000th house and more than one million people will be living in Habitat homes they helped build and are buying through no-profit, zero-interest mortgages. www.habitat.org