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Wednesday, 10 November 2010 14:48

Christmas Bowl Delivers Aid as Crises Loom

This Christmas, church-goers will be able to share the gifts of food, shelter, medicine and education with refugees that have sought security from violence and persecution in the sprawling camps that line the Thailand-Burma border.

Mr Alistair Gee, Executive Director of Act for Peace (the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia) said, “The situation in Burma is extremely unpredictable. In the past days we have seen around 20,000 people flee violence between ethnic rebels and Burmese government forces. The fighting has now ceased and the people are returning to Burma, but this underscores the continued building of tension in Burma.”

Mr Gee said, “The Christmas Bowl has played an important role in establishing security for Burmese refugees living on the Thai-Burma border for the past 25 years. It is vital that these camps continue to be a safe-haven for people who have lost everything due to ongoing violence. The camps already house 140,000 people; we are monitoring the post-election situation in Burma and preparing for the possibility of an influx of refugees.”

“We are encouraging churches and people of faith around Australia to give generously to the Christmas Bowl to support the people of Burma during this pivotal time and to support civilians caught in other crises unraveling around the world”, said Mr Gee.

With the help of Australian churches, Act for Peace hopes to raise over $2.7 million for the Christmas Bowl program this year. Reaching this target is vital to effectively assist the people of Burma and Sudan. Particularly as the Sudan 2011 Referendum approaches on 7 January, where the North and South will vote for cessation.

Mr Gee said, “We are already seeing population movements in Sudan as southerners residing in the North ask our partners to organise safe passage back to their villages in southern Sudan. Threats and intimidation are already taking place and there is a climate of fear. We must be prepared logistically and financially to deal with the humanitarian consequences of large scale migration and violence.”

A gift to the Christmas Bowl can help support people who are caught amidst these crises.

$30 can provide life-saving medicine for two children in Gaza
$150 can train a community leader in conflict resolution in Sudan
$500 can provide a family of Burmese refugees with nutritious food for six months
To make a tax deductible gift or to order the Christmas Bowl resources, please free call 1800 025 101 or visit:  www.actforpeace.org.au  

To download the images that align with this Media release, please go to http://www.actforpeace.org.au/Ways_To_Give/The_Christmas_Bowl/Resources_Events/Christmas_Bowl_Media.aspx

Media Enquiries:

Campaigns & Communication Coordinator, Edwyn Shiell 0458 303 515