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South Asian Rescuers in desperate need of help

29 December 2004

South Asian Rescuers in desperate need of help

Christian World Service (CWS) urges support for those working to bring relief to the victims of the earthquake and tsunamis in South/East Asia.

“We continue to hear reports of the devastation which is, in the words of one Sri Lankan friend, “frightening”, says Gillian Southey. “Our friends and colleagues in the region are making every effort to deliver urgent supplies and respond with personal support. Many New Zealanders live near the coast here and will have some understanding of the danger. We appeal for your help.”

Parts of Sri Lanka remain inaccessible and the water is too close for comfort. Rescuers are delivering truckloads of essential food items and water to some of the worst hit areas including near Batticaloa and offering comfort where they can.

They are also trying to deliver medicines. Compounding the disaster is the fact that many of the worst hit areas have inadequate hospital facilities. Many people, on their own have collected food parcels to be distributed to those who have taken shelter in the Buddhist and Hindu temples, mosques and church halls. Some of them house thousands of people. Local churches and partner groups are raising funds and helping to transport people displaced by the disaster where they can. Many of the roads have been washed away.

In India, CWS has heard from partners working through the global alliance of which it is a part, Action by Churches Together (ACT) International, who have now sent 12 teams to supplement local efforts. They have also started an emergency feeding programmes for the people who have sought sanctuary in churches and schools. As well as providing blankets, clothing, food and water they are organising the removal of bodies and animal carcasses.

Indonesian church groups are working to distribute relief in Aceh even though international aid teams have been previously denied entry to the conflict-torn province by the Indonesian government. With difficult communications, we are awaiting a more detailed assessment of the local response.

Donations to the South Asia Tsunami Appeal can be made by phoning: 0800 74 73 72 or can be sent to P O Box 22 652, Christchurch or through the website: www.cws.org.nz


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