SRI LANKA FLOODS LEAVE 400,000 HOMELESS
JUNE 13 2008
More than 400,000 people have been driven from their homes by unusually heavy monsoon floods on the island of Sri Lanka. The continuous, torrential rains have killed at least 20 people, left hundreds of homes destroyed and rendered thousands of others unlivable.
In response, Gospel for Asia’s Compassion Services teams are moving to bring relief and hope to the battered survivors of the floodwaters.
The deluge flooded large areas of Sri Lanka. Some 83,000 families have been left homeless in seven districts.
GFA rushed emergency funds to the island to begin relief operations, but GFA President K.P. Yohannan said the suffering of the people is so great that much more will be quickly needed.
Despite restrictive laws that have made it harder for GFA missionaries to move around on the island, the GFA relief teams immediately mobilized to bring help and hope to the hard-hit people of their country.
“We are moving quickly to distribute rice, coconuts and other essential food items to the flood victims,” a GFA field correspondent wrote, “and we will bring medical assistance soon.”
The teams currently have supplies for 150 families, and they hope to be able to reach many more of the thousands who are living in heavy downpours without shelter because of the floods.
To add even more pain to their plight, fighting in Sri Lanka’s ongoing ethnic conflict is again on the rise, with some 7,000 people forced into refugee camps in the eastern part of the country.
For those who survive the dual assault of nature and human conflict, staying alive is almost as difficult a task as burying their loved ones.
Not only have fields been flooded and are now useless, there is an ever-present danger of stray bullets, mines and suicide bombings in the heightening conflict between Sri Lanka’s government and the ethnic Tamil rebels.
Yohannan encouraged Christians around the world to pray for the people of Sri Lanka and to send immediate help for the relief ministry on the island.
“Through these tragedies, God always works in people’s hearts in an amazing way,” he noted.
“As Christians, we not only are called upon to bring food, clothing and shelter in the name of Jesus which we are doing but we also have the Word that points the way to abundant life now and forever.
Our GFA Compassion Services teams are sharing both.
“Just think of the impact of sharing the love and hope found in Jesus Christ with those who have lost everything in this monsoon flooding,” Yohannan said.
“It is a tremendous opportunity in the midst of this terrible tragedy.”
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