Remembering the Big Wave

Post a Comment » Written on December 28th, 2009     
Filed under: Disaster Relief

The tsunami that resulted from the earthquake in Indonesia on December 26, 2004 killed nearly a quarter of a million people. Even after five years many are still trying to recover from the tremendous losses of family, home, and livelihood. A little more than a year ago I visited the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal between India and Burma.  Last year I visited the Andamans and saw with my own eyes the terrible devastation nearly four years after the tsunami. However far worse than the physical devastation was the emotional pain and suffering of those who had lost many loved ones.  I sat with people who wept as they shared their stories of those horrific few moments when parents, spouses, and children were swept away.

ECC churches and individuals responded with tremendous generosity by giving over one million dollars to Covenant World Relief to help in relief efforts in many different places in south Asia devastated by the tsunami. A significant portion of those funds went to provide relief and carry out rehabilitation work among people living in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. CWR’s partner there was and still is the Hindustani Covenant Church (HCC).  HCC used funds from CWR and others to provide immediate relief supplies, medical care, trauma counseling, livelihood rehabilitation, temporary shelters, and most recently 152 permanent shelters. Hundreds of organizations came to help. Five years later HCC is one of only a few who are still there in the Andaman Islands. Relief work evolved into rehabilitation which has now become longer term community development.  The tsunami of December 26, 2004 is not an event that the people in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands will ever totally recover from.  The HCC workers have made a commitment to remain in the Andamans, serving and loving the people and demonstrating the Good News of the Kingdom of God in all that they do and say.  I am thankful that CWR remains a partner in this as well.

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