LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Church USA donated $150,000 in emergency relief aid to the victims of the massive earthquake in Iran, joining the growing list of Christian groups committed to assisting the survivors.
Similar to several other denominations, the PCUSA consigned the funds to larger relief agencies to dispatch immediately. The Middle East Council of Churches will receive $10,000 of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance money; the grant will supplement the $80,000 it received from Action by Churches Together.
Money from ACT, a Geneva-based international alliance of churches and relief agencies, is being used to help purchase emergency shelter supplies and water tanks for survivors in the city of Bam, where 28,000 were confirmed dead.
PDA officials anticipate applying the remaining $140,000 to rebuilding Bam’s community structure through psychosocial services, improving water and sanitation systems, and meeting the needs of women and children. Committed funds will be sent as soon as formal plans and budgets are received from the field.
According to the PDA’s coordinator Susan Ryan, plans are already underway to send a psychosocial assessment team to the region in the coming weeks in cooperation with the Church of Sweden Aid and with Norwegian Church Aid. All response agencies will work under the coordination and in cooperation with the Iranian Red Crescent Society and the United Nations.
“PDA will be engaged in this effort for months to come,” Ryan said. “The next critical steps will be to quickly provide survivors with a sense of control over their lives by organizing them to provide services within the tent city including restarting schools for children.”
Of the money, $50,000 will come from the One Great Hour of Sharing and $100,000 in designated funds from PDA’s general relief account.
To date, more than 1,400 international relief workers from 26 countries converged in Bam to aid in the effort.