Posted for SHARE Foundation by Partners Across Borders, St. Cloud, MN
To: SHARE Friends
From: Jean Stokan Date: Feb. 16, 2001
Greetings and thank you for all you are doing to accompany the people of El Salvador at this time. It is all so hard, but the outpouring of so many of you is a source of strength and hope. This posting includes a brief update and a call to action.
UPDATE SUMMARY. This morning news on the damage tallied so far from Tuesday's quake includes: 322 deaths, 3,000+ injured, 34,500 homes destroyed, and an estimated 100,000 persons left homeless. This is on top of the January 13th quake, which killed 844 people, injured 1,800, destroyed 100,000 homes and left almost 1.2 million homeless.
The stories are heartbreaking. Because of the morning timing of the quake, many more children were killed or hurt when schools collapsed. Today's Washington Post tells of the mudslides and one woman. Doralinda Hernandez, weeping in a makshift camp, awaiting news of her husband, a coffee plantation worker buried in one of the mudslides. "I have 10 children from 2 months to 15. My house is gone and I don't know what I'm going to do now."
WHAT TO DO. Keep doing what you are doing to get the word out and circulate a plea for help. The funding needs remain a high priority. Keep giving talks, widen the circle of possible supporters, put on radio/tv/newspaper "public service announcements," put cans for collection in local restaurants, churches, schools, whatever and wherever. Let us know if you need help in putting together a flier, or use what we have posted to date in our outreach. Direct people to SHARE's web site; have them make tax-deductible checks to "SHARE Foundation -Earthquake" and send what you collect to our national office: SHARE Foundation, 598 Bosworth St., #1, San Francisco, CA 94131.
ADVOCACY Update. We are still waiting on the Dear Colleague letter to be sent out to Congressional offices, for which we will need your follow-up.
We are meeting with US Ambassador to El Salvador Rose Likings this afternoon together with the other members of the DC El Salvador working group. We will emphasize again the need for a national reconstruction plan that is long term and inclusive of organized civil society. As US Ambassador she can take the leadership in encouraging a reconstruction mechanism that is permanent: A coalition of government, NGO's, municipal leaders, churches and affected civilians. This mechanism should participate in the planning and reconstruction as well as implementation and monitoring.
Part of the reconstruction plan must include a visionary rural policy that will protect the most vulnerable population in El Salvador. The December 2nd delegation invited Ambassador Likings to visit the country side with SHARE staff. She promised to do this, a visit has been tentative planned for early March, we will remind her of this commitment.
In the meantime, I want to take this opportunity to introduce SHARE's new part-time policy associate in our D.C. office, Phil Anderson. Phil joined the staff in January and will be the one to coordinate follow-up with you on the Dear Colleague letter. He is also the liaison to our sister parishes/sister communities on advocacy issues. SHARE is fortunate to have Phil on staff, given his 30 years of commitment to international justice and peace and a history of close involvement in El Salvador. He is a Lutheran pastor and from 1986-90, was based in El Salvador with the Lutheran World Federation. More recently, he worked with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, on US/Mexico border issues and migration.
I am also pleased to say that we have brought back on board our stellar Susan Saudek to be working part-time again in SHARE's office for the next several months. Yami continues as office manager and Meghan as our intern. So together with you, we have a great team to be carrying out the tremendous advocacy work needed at this time!