Christian relief agency tells of tsunami horror on India's coastline - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
January 11, 2005

Christian relief agency tells of tsunami horror on India's coastline

-11/01/05

World Visionís UK chief executive meets resilient tsunami survivors along

Indiaís devastated coastline

The head of one of the UKís leading Christian relief agencies has described Indiaís tsunami-stricken coastline as ìlike a scene from a world warî while on a recent visit to the devastated region of Tamil Nadu.

Charles Badenoch, chief executive of World Vision, witnessed both the aftermath of the sea-surge and the incredible resilience of survivors when he visited India last week. His three-day visit to the south-eastern districts of Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Pondicherry, took in villages that were reduced to rubble by the tsunami.

ìIt was as though a bomb hit the coastline,î he said. ìThere was debris everywhere. Wreckage of fishing boats was strewn across villages; trawlers were dumped on the remains of houses. The destruction was immense ñ whole villages along the shoreline were wiped out.î

Over 8,000 people were killed in the area, but in spite of the devastation and loss, Mr Badenoch was overwhelmed by the response of the survivors.

ìDespite the scale of the damage, what impressed me was the resilience of the local people and the huge co-operative response by charities and local authorities.

ìThe people I met were coping incredibly well given the circumstances. They have pulled together to help each other out, doing whatever they can to begin to rebuild their lives againî

The Boxing Day tsunami in the Indian Ocean region has prompted a massive response from the international aid community.

ìThis is the greatest humanitarian emergency of our time,î said Mr Badenoch. ìSuch an unprecedented disaster requires an unprecedented response at all levels from the UN through to local authorities and communities.î

Mr Badenoch said he was encouraged to see aid was getting to affected communities in spite of many obstacles.

ìRelief workers are facing huge challenges. Many of the areas I visited are pretty remote, communication lines have been down, roads have been blocked, and electricity cut off.

ìEmergency assistance is getting through. Our staff were already on the ground and have been bringing in sacks of rice and lentils along with cooking utensils and stoves, sleeping mats and medicine,î he added.

Mr Badenoch stressed that emergency relief distributions were only part of the solution.

ì140,000 Indians need to return to homes as soon as possible,î he said.

ìHouses, roads and public buildings all need to be rebuilt. Fishing boats, the main source of their livelihoods, need to be repaired. Also, many fishermen are justifiably afraid of going back out to sea.î

World Vision, one of the worldís leading Christian relief and development agencies, has been working in the tsunami-affected region for many years and are committed to the long-term recovery and reconstruction across the region.

ìWhat is clear from my short visit is that the recovery will take years, not weeks or months,î said Mr Badenoch. ìWe will continue to work until the affected communities are back on their feet.

ìIíve seen first-hand the difference that public donations can make. The immediate response from the British public to the Disaster Emergency Committee appeal has been tremendous.

ìThe UK Governmentís commitment has been encouraging but we need to ensure that they deliver on their pledges and that tsunami-assistance is not taken from their budgets for ongoing aid around the world.

ìWith so much need and so many other crises around the world, we must continue to give for the long haul. This shattering event has hit poor people the hardest. Helping poor communities to get back to where they were is not enough. We need to help get them out of the cycles of poverty that were already crippling them before the tsunami hit.

ìOur response needs to demonstrate the same resilience shown by the tsunami survivors.î

World Vision has more than 22,000 staff in nearly 100 countries, including nearly 3,700 in the five countries worst hit by the tsunami ñ India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar.

Christian relief agency tells of tsunami horror on India's coastline

-11/01/05

World Visionís UK chief executive meets resilient tsunami survivors along

Indiaís devastated coastline

The head of one of the UKís leading Christian relief agencies has described Indiaís tsunami-stricken coastline as ìlike a scene from a world warî while on a recent visit to the devastated region of Tamil Nadu.

Charles Badenoch, chief executive of World Vision, witnessed both the aftermath of the sea-surge and the incredible resilience of survivors when he visited India last week. His three-day visit to the south-eastern districts of Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Pondicherry, took in villages that were reduced to rubble by the tsunami.

ìIt was as though a bomb hit the coastline,î he said. ìThere was debris everywhere. Wreckage of fishing boats was strewn across villages; trawlers were dumped on the remains of houses. The destruction was immense ñ whole villages along the shoreline were wiped out.î

Over 8,000 people were killed in the area, but in spite of the devastation and loss, Mr Badenoch was overwhelmed by the response of the survivors.

ìDespite the scale of the damage, what impressed me was the resilience of the local people and the huge co-operative response by charities and local authorities.

ìThe people I met were coping incredibly well given the circumstances. They have pulled together to help each other out, doing whatever they can to begin to rebuild their lives againî

The Boxing Day tsunami in the Indian Ocean region has prompted a massive response from the international aid community.

ìThis is the greatest humanitarian emergency of our time,î said Mr Badenoch. ìSuch an unprecedented disaster requires an unprecedented response at all levels from the UN through to local authorities and communities.î

Mr Badenoch said he was encouraged to see aid was getting to affected communities in spite of many obstacles.

ìRelief workers are facing huge challenges. Many of the areas I visited are pretty remote, communication lines have been down, roads have been blocked, and electricity cut off.

ìEmergency assistance is getting through. Our staff were already on the ground and have been bringing in sacks of rice and lentils along with cooking utensils and stoves, sleeping mats and medicine,î he added.

Mr Badenoch stressed that emergency relief distributions were only part of the solution.

ì140,000 Indians need to return to homes as soon as possible,î he said.

ìHouses, roads and public buildings all need to be rebuilt. Fishing boats, the main source of their livelihoods, need to be repaired. Also, many fishermen are justifiably afraid of going back out to sea.î

World Vision, one of the worldís leading Christian relief and development agencies, has been working in the tsunami-affected region for many years and are committed to the long-term recovery and reconstruction across the region.

ìWhat is clear from my short visit is that the recovery will take years, not weeks or months,î said Mr Badenoch. ìWe will continue to work until the affected communities are back on their feet.

ìIíve seen first-hand the difference that public donations can make. The immediate response from the British public to the Disaster Emergency Committee appeal has been tremendous.

ìThe UK Governmentís commitment has been encouraging but we need to ensure that they deliver on their pledges and that tsunami-assistance is not taken from their budgets for ongoing aid around the world.

ìWith so much need and so many other crises around the world, we must continue to give for the long haul. This shattering event has hit poor people the hardest. Helping poor communities to get back to where they were is not enough. We need to help get them out of the cycles of poverty that were already crippling them before the tsunami hit.

ìOur response needs to demonstrate the same resilience shown by the tsunami survivors.î

World Vision has more than 22,000 staff in nearly 100 countries, including nearly 3,700 in the five countries worst hit by the tsunami ñ India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar.

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