Indian Island Believers Show Faith Despite Tsunami Devastation

The people of India’s Car Nicobar Island have shown great faith despite their hardship, the general secretary of the Church of North India (CNI) said yesterday.

At a church consultation meeting on tsunami and disaster management in New Delhi, CNI’s Rev. Enos Das Pradhan said, “We were really impressed by the faith of the people."

While almost the entire 25,000 population of Car Nicobar was devastated and displaced by the tsunami, Pradhan pointed out that "faith comes above everything else for these people."

According to the U.K.-based Council for World Mission (CWM), more than 1,000 CNI members participated in the Holy Communion service led by the CNI moderator at the Malakka village in Car Nicobar in a temporary church erected with bamboos and tarpaulins.

"They are more interested in building churches to worship than making new houses for themselves," Pradhan told CWM News.

When a CNI delegation led by moderator Bishop Z James Terom and Pradhan visited the islands on Jan. 16, the church members told the delegation, "We want new churches to worship."

CWM reports that eight of the 10 churches on the island had been wiped out by the Dec. 26 quake-tsunami devastation that obliterated seaside towns and killed more than 226,000 people in twelve countries. Around 95 percent of the Car Nicobar’s population are CNI members.

While 15,000 people of Car Nicobar are still living in 85 relief camps set up by the government, Pradhan regretted that 4,000 have been taken to Port Blair in the bigger Andamans isles. Meanwhile, several thousand people are still missing.