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Habitat issues emergency appeal for hurricane funds

Habitat for Humanity issues emergency appeal for hurricane funds to aid families

AMERICUS, Ga. – Following Hurricane Katrina’s catastrophic strike on the Gulf Coast, Habitat for Humanity International is announcing an emergency appeal for funds to help Habitat families and other low-income families in the affected areas recover and rebuild.

“We are praying for the best, but at the same time, preparing for the worst,” said Paul Leonard, Habitat’s chief executive officer. “While Hurricane Katrina’s full impact won’t be known for some time, this much is clear: many families in the hardest hit areas were living in severe poverty even before Katrina hit, and most of these families have little chance of ever rebuilding without our help.”

In addition to the emergency appeal, Habitat’s Disaster and Emergency Services unit, when conditions allow, will dispatch teams to check on Habitat families who lived in the storm’s destructive path and others. Team members will move quickly to provide whatever immediate assistance they can, then begin to plan for short- and long-term assistance for Habitat partner families, volunteers and Habitat affiliates in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida impacted by the storm.

Habitat for Humanity International has created a link on its Web site, www.habitat.org, where visitors may donate funds, which will be used to repair homes and lives damaged by the hurricane and to foster hurricane recovery. Through the link, concerned and committed people can help people rebuild, said Mark Crozet, resource development senior vice president for Habitat for Humanity International.

“More than homes have been swept away in this storm,” said Crozet. “Entire lives have been thrown into disarray and doubt here as well. Their challenges will last for months, maybe years as they struggle to rebuild. We must be there, standing alongside however we can, to help them.”

Donations to Habitat for Humanity Hurricane Katrina relief will go where they are most needed, said Crozet, unless a donor specifically requests a particular location for it to be used.

“This has been an extraordinary year of need,” said Leonard. “We have never lost a Habitat home to a hurricane before, but we’ve also never been faced with a storm this powerful. This is a devastating event. What the winds did not destroy or damage, the rain and flooding have certainly taken their toll.

“Last year’s hurricanes – Charley, Frances and Ivan, then the tsunami that struck the coastlines of South Asia, have created an unprecedented level of need. Like other NGOs, we are committed to providing whatever help we can, wherever we can, and we are committed to providing that help as long as the need remains,” said Leonard.

To help, or for more information, please visit www.habitat.org, or call 1-229-924-6935.

Habitat for Humanity International, headquartered in Americus, Ga., is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for one million people. www.habitat.org.