Dwights Evacuated Following Massive Storm

Post a Comment » Written on December 27th, 2004     
Filed under: News
By Don Meyer

PHI PHI ISLAND, THAILAND (December 27, 2004)  – Evangelical Covenant Church  missionaries Don and Lillian Dwight and their five children have been  safely evacuated following tsunamis that swept across the Indian Ocean  from Thailand to Somalia Monday morning, killing at least 23,000 people.

The giant waves – caused by the most powerful earthquake on Earth in 40  years – also left thousands injured and missing as well as hundreds of  thousands homeless in Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand,  according to reports from CNN News.

“The Dwights arrived on Phi Phi Island Christmas morning,” according to  China country coordinators Dave and Judy Dolan. “They were disappointed  that the bungalow they had been given was up on the hill rather than on  the beach. Sunday morning they decided not to go to the beach early, but  instead went to a restaurant. Twenty minutes later after they returned  to their bungalow, the restaurant was completely destroyed by the  tsunami. So the fact that their accommodations were on the hill . . .  and the fact that they decided to go to breakfast early rather than go  to the beach all contributed to their being alive today.”

The Dwight family were evacuated to Phuket and hope to catch a flight to  Bangkok for a scheduled return flight to Taiwan December 31.

Early reports were sketchy, but another Covenanter, Tom Halgren, is  reportedly safe in Sri Lanka, where he was working on a printing  project. In an email message to friends, Halgren says he was on the west  side of the island – it was the south and east that was hit by the big  tidal waves. “No Warning!” he writes. “Nothing! A thirty-foot-high wave  hit and destroyed everything in its path. I was at the beach when it hit  the Negombo area about 1 p.m. The water went way out – more than the  tide – and so we walked out a way – dumb thing to do! It came back in a  surge and we ran for the beach, then the sunbathing area, then the  veranda and we were caught in water up to our waist. Got bounced around,  but am okay!”

The magnitude 9.0 quake struck about 7 a.m. Sunday and was centered  about 100 miles off the coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra island at a depth  of about 6.2 miles, CNN reports. It was the strongest earthquake on  Earth since 1964 and tied a 1952 quake in Kamchatka, Russia, as the  fourth strongest since such measurements began in 1899.

“Judy and I will be leaving on Thursday to spend a few days with the  Dwights after they return to Taiwan,” David Dolan writes. “Pray that the  Lord will allow us to be an encouragement and comfort to them in the  aftermath of this traumatic experience.”

More information will be posted to this Covenant online news report as  it becomes available.

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