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Counterpart Sends Rice to Somalia

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Churches of Christ donation to feed thousands of starving people, Counterpart says

ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  Urgently needed rice that will feed thousands of starving people will be sent by the nonprofit Counterpart International to drought-stricken northern Somalia. www.counterpart.org

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110818/DC54764LOGO)

"This human tragedy is truly heartbreaking," says Joan Parker, President and CEO of Counterpart. "We are bringing together the Churches of Christ and our Somali partners to respond to this emergency."

The Churches of Christ, which has collaborated with Counterpart in other humanitarian projects since 1999, raised money, donated the rice and provided other items in support of Somalia.

Spearheading the initiative on behalf of the Churches of Christ, Minister John Kachelman of Judsonia, Ark., says the Somalia relief effort has had a deep impact on his life.

"It's made me aware of just how blessed we are in America with an abundance of things," he says. "It is humbling. It has made me realize the obligation we have, as being so blessed, that we can help others."

Once a day for two weeks, almost 10,000 people living in displacement camps in the Puntland region of northern Somalia will receive a serving of rice from this donation. Kaalo Relief and Development Organization, Counterpart's on-the-ground partner, will distribute the aid.

The cargo ship departs from Columbus, Miss., on Tuesday. Part of the shipping cost is covered by the U.S. government's Ocean Freight Reimbursement program.

Despite the worldwide appeal for support, the food crisis in northern Somalia continues to be desperate as an estimated half a million starving people have filled displacement camps. Unfortunately, compared to southern Somalia, the North has received less international attention.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) reports that the famine now affects Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. "Across the eastern Horn of Africa, more than 12 million people—a number greater than the populations of Houston and New York City combined—are now in need of emergency assistance to survive," USAID reported.

It is estimated that 29,000 Somali children age five and younger have died because of the food crisis, according to U.S. figures. On Tuesday, the United Nations warned that more Somali children will die of disease and hunger unless more assistance is forthcoming.

Your help is needed
Counterpart's Parker is urging other congregations, companies, schools and individuals to help with this international relief effort by visiting www.counterpart.org to make a contribution.

"It is in our power to relieve the suffering of thousands of other Somalis," Parker says. "Your donation will make a difference by allowing Counterpart to send more food and supplies."

Counterpart has plans to send additional containers of urgently-needed food, hygiene kits, water purification tablets and other supplies to the affected region but needs more support, says Rang Hee Kim, Counterpart's Director of Humanitarian Assistance.

"The best way you can help Somalia is to contribute cash," she says. "We have access to food and other emergency supplies, but need cash donations to pay for transportation and other costs." Visit www.counterpart.org to donate.

This latest shipment is part of Counterpart's ongoing support for Somalia. In the past, the international nonprofit organization has distributed $3.7 million of assistance to the Puntland region through its local partner.

Counterpart in Africa
In addition to this relief effort for Somalia, Counterpart works to create sustainable livelihoods in neighboring Ethiopia through a program supported by USAID. In Africa, the nonprofit is active in Senegal, Niger, Mauritania, Chad and Cameroon, where it works to enhance food security and strengthen civil society.

"Our efforts in Africa have improved the lives of thousands of people and ensure that they can support their families," Parker says. "This is part of Counterpart's strategy of building healthy and sustainable communities."

About Counterpart International
Counterpart International (www.counterpart.org) is a global, nonprofit development organization that works in partnership with people, communities and institutions to drive and sustain their own development.

For nearly 50 years, Counterpart has been working in partnership with communities in need to address complex problems related to economic development, food security and nutrition, and strengthening governance and civil society. Learn more at www.counterpart.org

Counterpart is a 501(c)(3) registered with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Donations are deductible as described on your receipt and to the extent allowed by law.

SOURCE Counterpart International



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