ALERT: Nicaragua Caravan/Pastors for Peace to aid hurricane

Tom Boland (
Sat, 7 Nov 1998 00:10:37 -0400

=46WD Michael <>

Emergency Alert

IFCO/Pastors for Peace Moves Forward with Urgent Humanitarian Aid Caravan to

Thousands of congregations, grade school classrooms and community
organizations across the US are working diligently to collect medicines,
medical supplies and foodstuffs to place on the IFCO/Pastors for Peace
Caravan for the survivors of Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua.  Today marks Day
Three of the caravan=92s fifty-city, five-route schedule of educational
events, press conferences and humanitarian aid pick-ups throughout the U.S.
and Canada.

Twelve volunteers will drive three school buses, one truck and one station
wagon filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medicines,
medical supplies, construction materials and educational materials to
Nicaragua.   Religious leaders across the US are being urged to pray that
Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Alem=E1n will not seize this humanitarian relie=
aid in the wake of the worst natural disaster Nicaragua has experienced in
over 100 years.

IFCO/Pastors for Peace is alarmed at President Alem=E1n=92s response to his
country=92s catastrophe.  To date, there are nearly 2000 casualties reported=
and the death toll continues to rise as entire communities are being
uncovered from beneath devastating mudslides.  So far, 70,000 have been left
homeless and over 2000 are reported missing.

This Caravan marks the 10th anniversary of Pastors for Peace.  IFCO launched
its Pastors for Peace project ten years ago in response to a Nicaraguan
contra attack against a passenger ferry carrying 200 civilians including a
10-member IFCO delegation. Two people were killed in that attack and 29 were
wounded, including IFCO executive director, Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr.

Rev. Walker stated,  "Ten years ago, our very first caravan arrived in
Nicaragua in the wake of Hurricane Joan.  We delivered medicines, medical
supplies and construction materials to devastated regions along Nicaragua=92=
Atlantic coast.  Today, we find ourselves organizing another emergency
relief effort; but this time under President Alem=E1n=92s threat to seize th=
life- saving aid rather than allow its distribution to starving families in
disease-ridden zones in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch.  We beseech the US
government and the international community to stop this crime of withholding
humanitarian aid."

Alem=E1n continues to refuse to release thirty-four humanitarian aid shipmen=
from international organizations, destined for Nicaraguan churches and NGO=
working with the poorest communities throughout the country, many of which
have been hit hardest by Mitch.  The Alem=E1n administration is demanding th=
Nicaraguan recipient organizations pay taxes ranging from 40%- 118% on these
shipments.  In the wake of Nicaragua=92s most devastating natural disaster i=
over a century, these shipments sit rotting in customs warehouses, while
thousands of Nicaraguans are left without clothing, shelter or food.

Rev. Walker stated, "The world has demonstrated an outpouring of love for
Nicaragua, but Aleman is responsible for the death of his own people by
refusing humanitarian aid."

Since 1988, IFCO/Pastors for Peace has successfully delivered 31 caravans of
humanitarian aid to Mexico, Central America and Cuba involving tens of
thousands of US citizens and church and community activists in the work to
build a "people-to-people foreign policy."

We are still accepting applications for participation on the caravan.
Please call the Midwest office at 773-271-4817 for more information on where
you can join.  We are no longer accepting material aid because all Caravan
vehicles are filled; however, if your community wants to join the caravan
with a vehicle filled with aid and a driver, please contact the Midwest
office immediately.  IFCO/Pastors for Peace is also collecting  monetary
donations for hurricane relief in Nicaraguan.  Tax-deductible donations
should be made out to "IFCO/Hurricane Relief" and sent to IFCO, 402 W. 145th
St., New York, NY, 10031.

Please make sure your Emergency Action Alert phone/fax/email trees are in
place and updated.  We will be organizing a campaign to make sure that your
humanitarian aid, on the IFCO/Pastors for Peace 10th Anniversary Caravan,
gets to the people in Nicaragua.   Also, demand that your local media cover
Aleman=92s refusal to release humanitarian aid during this crisis.  Press
releases are available upon request from the Midwest office of IFCO/Pastors
for Peace.

=46or more information, contact: IFCO/Pastors for Peace
national office:402 W. 145th St., New York, NY, 10031, tel:212-926-5757,
midwest office:P.O. Box 408130, Chicago, IL, 60640, tel:773-271-4817,
website: www.ifconews@org
P.O. Box 408130
Chicago, IL 60640-8130
(773) 271-4817 tel
(773) 271-5269 fax (email)

"Let us not love in word, neither in tongue: but in deed and in truth."
1 John 3:18