An agency of the Christian Reformed Church in North America anticipates raising between $8- and $9-million in donations and grants for tsunami relief in South Asia. As gifts continue to flow in the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC), is developing a multi-year plan to meet the needs of disaster survivors in India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.
"We've been blessed by the huge outpouring of support that we've received," said CRWRC-US Director, Andrew Ryskamp. We plan to use these gifts to be a blessing to those who are hurting."
CRWRC, which works in more than 30 countries around the world, reports that it was able to respond to the tsunami the day after the disaster struck, providing food and emergency supplies to thousands of families through its on-going partnerships in South Asia. Today, CRWRC is continuing to work through these international partnerships to meet on-going needs.
"The needs in South Asia aren't just to provide emergency supplies," said Bruce Campbell-Janz, CRWRC Relief Project Manager. "In Sri Lanka, for example, more than 80 percent of fishing vessels were damaged or destroyed by the storm. That means that fishing families now have no way to provide for themselves. In other areas, farmers' fields were completely destroyed and will need to be desalinated before they can be used again."
The agency reports that it is responding to the longer-term needs by helping people to obtain new boats and nets, helping farmers to rehabilitate their fields, and helping more than 1,000 families to build new homes so that they can move out of temporary camps and start getting back on their feet. CRWRC is also planning to revitalize whole communities by helping them start long-term development programs that will meet the ongoing challenges of poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.
"We've been working in Asia for many years, and we are committed to working there for many more, " said Ryskamp. "We want to help communities overcome not only this most recent disaster, but also the other obstacles that are keeping them poor. Too often, chronic poverty makes disasters like this one especially devastating for poor communities. Through the generous support of so many North Americans, we are now positioned to make a lasting difference."
For more information about these programs, please visit www.crwrc.org or call 1-800-55-CRWRC.