Convoy of Hope is partnering with Assemblies of God World Missions to provide assistance to tsunami victims in Sri Lanka where death toll from the Dec. 26 devastation is over 38,000, while about 1 million people remain displaced.
Convoy of Hope Media director Jeff Nene, who just returned last week from helping to assess needs as well as distribute relief in Sri Lanka, said the need is far greater than imagined.
Nene explained that although original reports had indicated that there appeared to be enough food to aid victims of the tsunami in Sri Lanka, it has now become evident that there are thousands who desperately are in need of food.
"This is not a short-term problem," Nene said. "People lost their families, homes, businesses . . . and now, it's all about survival.
Convoys International director, Kenton Moody, told Assemblies of God News that the relief effort has seven goals to accomplish, which include:
1. Providing emergency food aid to 10,000-15,000 persons weekly, located in nine regions along the eastern and southern coastal region of Sri Lanka. These family food packets consist of rice, lentils, milk powder, tea, sugar, salt, spices, crackers and fish product. Each packet is designed to provide one meal a day for a family of five.
2. Providing means of transport for this massive food distribution. Logistics still remains the largest obstacle to aiding in the crisis with roads and bridges washed out and others impassable due to ethnic strife in the country. Both Convoy of Hope and Speed the Light have helped provide transport vehicles and four wheel drive vehicles that are carrying the food into both the centers and camps.
3. Providing additional relief supplies much in demand by the refugees, such as under garments, cooking stoves and pots and pans, sleeping mats, clothing, personal hygiene items, etc.
4. Providing temporary housing for 2,500 families immediately. COH has purchased tents that are being flown into country as well as housing material that can be combined with native materials on hand to provide shelter from sun and rain.
5. Providing working toilets for those families who are in temporary housing in order to prevent diseases and promote personal hygiene.
6. Providing for the construction of wells, cleaning of dug wells, and the provision of family water purification units for each family living in temporary housing.
7. Assisting with the reconstruction of damaged churches, pastor and church member houses, and other permanent housing as desired by the local church.
Following the Dec. 26 tragedy, COH had sent an assessment team into the area immediately. COH already has established partners on the ground in Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand who will be responsible for the distribution of all relief supplies sent by COH. Supplies already being prepared include: vitamins, gloves, hygiene kits, food, and water.
Earlier this month, Convoy of Hope was able to team up with Federal Express and ship 11,000 pounds of relief supplies into the affected region. The shipment included hygiene kits, food bars, and ready to eat foods.
In addition several businesses in the Springfield area have teamed up with COH to provide immediate aid into the area. Bass Pro Shops donated over 1,000 cases of water, 4,000 T-shirts, and covered the shipping costs of the items. The local McDonalds owner/operators presented Convoy with a check for $10,000 to go toward the relief efforts. Noble Communications pledged $12,000, and the Springfield's Best organization had raised over $7,000.
Meanwhile, Springfield-based "Speed the Light" a faith-based group of young people, pledged money to purchase trucks in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Thailand to transport supplies to areas in need.
For more information about Convoy of Hope or to help support the COH relief effort, see http://www.convoyofhope.org.