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Tsunami

RESPONSE TO ASIAN TSUNAMIS

You can be a part of the relief effort!!

You can support the combination of regional and local relief efforts International Ministries is supporting by using the simple channel of giving to the One Great Hour of Sharing. Mark your gift: “Asian Tsunami Tragedy”: https://secure5.iexp.com/secure/abcusamissions/givenow/

 

ABC International Ministries Update page for the latest updates

 

January 3, 2005

A brief commentary

Stan Slade, International Ministries Communications

 

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the size of tragedies like the earthquake and tsunamis that hit a dozen Asian nations on December 26. In a matter of hours, devastation spread over an enormous swath of our planet as waves leveled homes and businesses more than 4,000 miles apart. As the death toll estimates move toward 150,000 and the numbers of people at risk from disease and malnutrition move toward 5 million, most of us find it hard to connect the scale of the tragedy to our everyday lives.

 

But then we hear from missionaries Jeff and Annie Dieselberg about a bride-to-be in Thailand whose holiday vacation at the seashore has now meant the loss of a leg due to gangrene.

 

Or we hear from Ramesh Kumar, Principal of Balasore Technical School, about villages of fishermen in South India who have lost loved ones, homes and livelihood, and the congregation near Chennai (Madras) that was wiped out when the wave struck the sanctuary during worship.

 

We may shrink from the image, but we can imagine a wall of water crashing through our own church’s sanctuary on a Sunday morning. We can imagine losing a leg. We can imagine our entire neighborhood without electricity, water or any other basic services.

 

The disaster takes on a human face and dimension for us as we think of individual people and communities that have been affected. We realize that these stories have to be multiplied thousands of times if they are to match the scale of what happened, but thinking of individuals and communities helps us appreciate the reality of what has happened.

 

The same thing applies to the relief effort. Thanks be to God, the governments of the world have now promised to take some $2 billion of their national incomes and devote it to the relief effort. But in order to meet the full dimensions of the human need that has been created, the massive work by the world’s governments will need to be complemented by the efforts of hundreds of nongovernmental organizations, including the church of Jesus Christ.

 

It is normal in disasters for a great deal of confusion and chaos to accompany the relief efforts, no matter how well prepared local authorities may be. We have heard from places as far apart as Thailand and South India that such confusion is indeed part of the current situation. In the midst of the confusion, local churches and church agencies are often able to make use of their grassroots networks to meet the needs of those who are “falling through the cracks” of larger programs.

 

International Ministries will continue to support the relief and recovery efforts spearheaded by the Church of Christ of Thailand, Baptist World Aid (for updates, go to www.bwanet.org), Church World Service (for updates, go to www.churchworldservice.org/news/tsunami/index.html) and partners in India (including the Telugu Baptist Fellowship, the Abundant Life Ministerial Association and others). Ben Chan, IM’s Area Director for India and East Asia is also maintaining an excellent collection of updates on his personal website: http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=BenSLChan

 

To help our brothers and sisters throughout the region deliver the message of Christ’s presence and love in the midst of great human need, please pray for those who are serving, as well as for the survivors. To stand with those who are serving, please use the One Great Hour of Sharing channel, marking your gift “Asian Tsunami Tragedy”: https://secure5.iexp.com/secure/abcusamissions/givenow/.

 

December 31, 2004

One of the largest and most widespread natural disasters of our time continues to unfold in the many nations that border the Indian Ocean. On the fifth day since a huge undersea earthquake unleashed killer waves throughout the area, the full dimensions of the human tragedy are still in the process of becoming known.

 

Just as understanding of the scope of the disaster is currently growing, relief efforts are continuing to develop. International Ministries is currently working cooperatively with several arms of the relief effort.

 

     Baptist World Aid: we are supporting the efforts of an international partnership of fellow Baptists.  For updates from the relief teams, go to http://www.bwanet.org

     Church World Service: we are supporting the work of an even larger international partnership of fellow followers of Jesus Christ. For the latest from this relief effort, go to http://www.churchworldservice.org/news/tsunami/index.html

     Thailand partners: American Baptist missionaries are deeply involved in the highly focused efforts of the Urban Transformation Center and the Church of Christ of Thailand. We will post updates from this effort as they become available.

     India partners: we will assist partners on the ground in India to respond to the medium term and longer term needs that have been produced by the disaster. IM is in dialogue with several India partners as they plan their responses. An early word from the large teaching hospital outside Madras (Chennai), CMC Vellore, can be found by clicking on the link at: http://www.cmchvellore.edu/# International Ministries will continue to develop its overall response strategy as additional partners throughout the region come “online” in the relief effort.

 

 

December 29, 2004

 

AMERICAN BAPTISTS RESPOND TO DEVASTATION IN ASIA In the aftermath of massive earthquakes and tsunamis (tidal waves) that have killed over 60,000 people and caused enormous destruction across a dozen countries in and around the Indian Ocean, International Ministries and its partners are undertaking initial response efforts.

 

Through One Great Hour of Sharing, $20,000 in undesignated contributions has already been sent to support the relief efforts of Church World Service, Baptist World Aid, and partners in India and Thailand. “The magnitude of this disaster is difficult to comprehend,” said World Relief Officer Lisa Rothenberger of International Ministries’ staff. “We are just learning of the staggering needs and formulating the best possible response at this time,” Rothenberger said. “The postcrisis phase of such an enormous disaster will last months, if not years, and require extraordinary financial resources.” Rothenberger encouraged all American Baptists to give sacrificially now and throughout the coming year in order to help alleviate the suffering. She said additional relief contributions can be made through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering and noted on local American Baptist churches’ “Monthly Report of Mission Giving" marked "OGHSAsian Tsunami Tragedy."

 

In Thailand, American Baptist missionaries Jeff and Annie Dieselberg said nearly 1,000 deaths and more than 7,000 injuries had already been reported in the southwestern coastal villages and island resorts of Thailand. Jeff Dieselberg, director of the Urban Transformation Center in Bangkok, said thousands of persons have been transported to that city for medical attention. The Dieselbergs are helping to coordinate initial relief efforts in Thailand, working with the Church of Christ of Thailand and the Thailand Baptist Missionary Fellowship.

 

Baptist World Aid allocated an initial $25,000 for relief work in the affected countries. Of that amount, $5,000 in immediate aid was given to cover expenses of a medical relief team from Hungarian Baptist Aid. The team arrived in Sri Lanka on December 27 and will assist victims in the most devastated areas

with medicines and medical supplies donated from Hungary.

 

Church World Service (CWS) has already shipped over $750,000 in material supplies, including health and shelter kits and emergency medicine boxes, to affected areas. CWS will be undertaking a regional

response to the catastrophe, focusing support in the three hardest hit areas, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India.

 

 

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