It’s been nearly two months since a devastating tsunami killed more than 200,000 people in Asia. Slowly parts of the hardest hit areas are getting help, thanks both to government donations and to money provided by individuals through various service organizations.
Today I want to highlight just one, Church World Service (http://churchworldservice.org/), the relief, development and refugee assistance ministry of 36 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican denominations in the U.S. So far CWS has provided more than $3.5 million in recovery and relief supplies to tsunami victims.
CWS has a regional director in Kansas City, the Rev. Joyce Holley.
“We were already supporting work in Aceh (the smashed province in Indonesia) before the tsunami hit,” Joyce said in a recent CWS press release, “and we’ll be there for the long haul, helping families and communities to rebuild their lives and their livelihoods.”
The CWS executive director, the Rev. John L. McCullough, recently returned to the U.S. from a visit to Indonesia. Here’s what he said about his trip: "Survivors in Aceh are beginning to pick up their lives, but the needs continue to be almost overwhelming. This territory cannot be left idle or left in the lurch to rebuild.
"Recovery of the dead is still going on – and the international community is very much involved. But the world community must stay focused and present for what will be long-term recovery in these worst-hit tsunami regions.
"In (Aceh's provincial capital) Banda Aceh there is still only one street. Everything else was destroyed. They will be rebuilding on a cemetery in Banda Aceh because all that is left are irretrievable body parts. We cannot leave them with this."
American attention span tends to be terribly short. But that’s no excuse for putting out of our minds the people who continue to suffer – and seek to recover – from the tsunami. If you can help but haven’t done so yet, please do, whether through CWS or another agency. You can make a donation right on the CWS Web site if you want.
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