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Lutheran Disaster Response Provides Assistance for Refugees in Uganda

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has provided $100,000 in humanitarian assistance for 66,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo who fled to Uganda in response to threats of violence. The funds are being dispersed through Lutheran Disaster Response to The Lutheran World Federation for humanitarian outreach in Uganda.

"Sixty-six thousand refugees arriving in Uganda over a three-day period is an extremely urgent situation, especially when many of those fleeing the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo are women and children," said Dr. Carl Stecker, ELCA director for global diakonia. "ELCA Lutheran Disaster Response International, in partnership with The Lutheran World Federation's Department for World Service and with the ACT (Action for Churches Together) Alliance is glad to be able to respond in this timely way."

The funds will be used primarily to help meet the refugees' basic needs, including providing shelter, cooking and water supplies and personal items. The refugees fled to Uganda after recent attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces, a rebel group that has been hiding in the jungles of eastern Congo since the early 1990s. According to the country director for Lutheran World Federation Uganda, the rapid influx of such a large number of refugees "has stretched the capacity of all agencies."

ELCA's Lutheran Disaster Response provides assistance to survivors of natural disasters and humanitarian crises throughout the world. This support is carried out both domestically and internationally in coordination with local affiliates -- social ministry organizations, agencies, partners and international companion churches -- located in the disaster-affected communities. Lutheran Disaster Response Ohio (LDR-Ohio) is one of social ministry organizations ELCA Lutheran Disaster Response works in conjuction with to meet the needs of disaster victims in the U.S.

The Lutheran World Federation is a global communion of 142 member churches in 79 countries worldwide. The ELCA is the communion's only member church from the United States.

ACT is an alliance of more than 130 churches and affiliated organizations that work together in humanitarian assistance and development. The alliance, based in Geneva, works in 140 countries worldwide. The ELCA is a member of the alliance.