Covenant World Relief Responds to Asian Disaster

Post a Comment » Written on December 28th, 2004     
Filed under: News
ASIA (December 28, 2004)  – Covenant World Relief is partnering with World  Relief International and a number of other disaster relief agencies to  respond quickly to needs throughout areas from Thailand to Somalia in  the aftermath of a massive tsunami that destroyed virtually everything  in its path Monday morning, resulting in the loss of life that is  estimated in excess of 50,000 people, according to CNN and the  Associated Press.

Families are flocking to makeshift morgues seeking lost loved ones as  hundreds of thousands have been left homeless in Indonesia, India, Sri  Lanka and Thailand, reports CNN News. The United Nations is asking donor  countries to dig deeper, saying this will likely be the costliest  disaster ever. “People need help fast,” CNN quotes one man as saying in  Colombo, Sri Lanka, where flags were at half-staff. “There’s no power,  there’s no petrol, there’s no movement, there’s no support getting  through to the injured, and I believe there are bodies that need to be  identified and transported out of there. With this heat, sanitation  problems will arise.”

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake 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. The quake triggered massive waves exceeding 30 feet  in height, one news source reported.

“By God’s grace, all our people in our mission fields in Pondicherry,  Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are safe from the tsunami waves which hit  the southern coast,” reports K. Paul Devakumar of the IFCM Covenant  Church in India in an email update to David Husby, co-regional  coordinator for Asia for Covenant World Mission of the Evangelical  Covenant Church (ECC). “Communications links with our missionaries in  these places were totally cut off. Only this morning we could get in  touch with them.

“In Pondicherry, the waves came very close to our church,” he continues.  “There has been a lot of loss of houses and belongings. We do not have  any words as we see the number of dead people who are buried in mass  graves. It all happened so quickly. The relief work is going on. Threat  and warning of another tsunami in the next 48 hours has brought a lot of  fear and anxiety among the people. Please pray. We are trying to  mobilize and organize for the relief. It will take months for the people  to recover from the calamity and get back to normalcy.”

Covenant World Relief (CWR) is accepting donations to assist the relief  efforts, according to Jim Sundholm, director. “In fact, CWR funds are  already at work – but we could use more.” A more detailed assessment was  provided by Tim Ziemer of World Relief International in an email report  to board members.

“Mark Smith, our disaster response division director, was diverted to  India on Monday while returning to the U.S. from Darfur, Sudan,” he  writes. “He’s presently in Chennai (formerly Madras), on the southeast  side of the Indian peninsula. This is the coastline of India that was  the most exposed to the direct line from the epicenter of the earthquake  that created the tsunamis and which suffered the most damage. Rabi, our  national representative, and Mark are doing an initial assessment.

“While still in it’s formative stage (response plan), we plan to focus  on India ( reported  death toll is at 5,000) and Sri Lanka (12,000),” he  continues. “We are proceeding with establishing partnerships that are  “like minded”. We will consider their capacity and do our best not to  stretch them too far. The ECC (Covenant) disaster funding has enabled us  to respond immediately. Without that, we simply would not have been able  to do anything until funds came in. Please pray with us that we will  honor the Lord as we respond to this very dramatic tragedy.  Specifically, please pray for our disaster relief staff because they  have been stretched very thin with the ongoing work in Iran, the  Carribean and Sudan; and pray that funding will be received to enable us  to assist in ways that will honor the Lord.”

Those desiring to donate to the relief effort should direct checks to  Tsunami Relief in area of Covenant World Relief, Evangelical Covenant  Church, 5101 N. Francisco Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60625. Mark gifts in  support of Tsunami Relief. More information will be posted to this  online Covenant news report as it becomes available.

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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