February 7, charity organization Partners International delivered a briefing to members of a ministers' prayer fellowship on current developments and goals with ongoing relief and reconstruction efforts in tsunami-devastated India, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The organization also asked for the prayer and support from those present.
The Partner's International presentation was delivered by Reverend Paul Lee, representative of the orgnization's Bay Area office.
According to figures released during the Partners International briefing, an estimated 158,821 people died in eleven nations struck by the tsunami on December 26. An additional 142,148 people, the report says, remain unaccounted for. A breakdown of the figures goes as follows:
- India: 111,171 dead and 127,774 missing
- Malaysia: 68 dead
- Bangladesh: 2 dead
- Sri Lanka: 30,957 dead, and 5,637 missing
- India: 10,749 dead and 5,640 missing
- Thailand: 5,393 dead and 3,071 missing
- Myanmar: 90 dead
- Somalia: 298 dead
- Tanzania: 10 dead
- Kenya: 1 dead
- Maldives: 82 dead, 28 missing
Shortly after the disaster had struck, the Partner International headquarter dispatched a damage-assessment team to help with relief strategy and decision-making. In addition, the organization dispatched medical teams to Nias, Simeulue, and Palau Banyk. The teams brought with them 1,000 kg (2,204 lbs) worth of medical supplies.
A field report released during the presentation stated that the teams had just the day before “worked with over one thousand people.” In one Indonesian town, for example, Partners International donated 5,000 bed sheets, 5 tons of rice, 300 boxes of packaged-dried noodles, and 700 boxes of packaged water.
The Partners International briefing also credited local organizations for providing fast and effective aid hours after the disaster occurred on December 26. Sri Lanka’s National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) for example dispatched tractors, trucks, and workers in less than 24 hours after the waves struck the island-nation.
The briefing stated that since most of the initial relief efforts were over, a long-term policy of rehabilitation is needed to ensure total recovery of areas devastated by the tsunami. A report released by Partners International urged cooperation since no agency working with tsunami-relief had adequate resources. The report also urged Christians internationally and domestically to support grief-counseling efforts for survivors traumatized by last December’s disaster.
As part of the long-term recovery strategy for India, Partners International will continue Bible Faith Mission and Evangelical Mission Outreach Services. Reverend Swamidas, leading the Bible Faith Mission, announced that the main focus will be on the Dalits or “untouchable” caste group. Dr. Selvaraj, heading the Evangelical Mission Outreach Services says that they will mainly focus on helping fishing communities. As reported by various news agencies, the majority of the India’s tsunami-casualties come from fishing communities dotting the coast.
The briefing also covered a report released by Dr. Matthias of the Vinnarasu Association of India. The report stated that the association will mainly focus on aiding surviving widows and children residing in 30 villages along the coast. Efforts, the report say, will include constructing permanent shelters, delivering textbooks and study materials for children, organizing prayer cells and self-help groups for women, and stress-management centers.
As for Indonesia, efforts will mainly focus on in the city of Meulaboh, located on west coast of Aceh, Indonesia. In addition, other islands will receive the attention for recovery-efforts. To implement these plans, efforts will focus on providing survivors micro-enterprise loans, warm meals, shrimp ponds, salt flats, and health clinics.
Partners International first began its first relief efforts in China in 1943. Since then, the organization has continually cooperated with local Christians in serving people all over the world. According to Partners International, the local Christians who choose to help are often at the same economic of the people they serve. In addition, the organization says, such Christians often serve while risking persecution, torture, and even death.
As of now, Partners International reports, team are continuing work in tsunami-devastated areas.