Bangladesh (MNN) — "People forget about the need, and the need continues in most cases for years and years," said Norm Nelson of Compassion Radio concerning Cyclone Sidr. He recently returned from a trip there to assess the need.
"It's going to take probably a decade before there is pretty much complete recovery in the country," said Nelson. Compassion Radio has made a long-term commitment to help see that happen.
"Our assessment indicated that there are a number of things we can do in providing shelter and food and medical care and all of that," said Nelson. Compassion Radio will be working with the local churches to see their commitment through.
The dense population makes working in the area difficult: 140 million people in a country the size of the state of Iowa with 125 rivers flowing through it. Still, many people are missing, and it is difficult to know whether they are alive somewhere or were taken out to sea by the storm. Cyclone Sidr also wiped out the harvest of rice which is the country's main food source.
With so many people in a small area, problems already endemic to the country are exacerbated.
The local churches they work with do more than relief work. "We are very picky about the churches we work with. We work with churches that proclaim the Gospel very clearly. We don't want any kind of side-bar Christianity being presented as the Gospel," said Nelson.
With 95 percent of the population being Muslim, the work this Christian organization is doing is strategic. "The Christian church has developed a very positive relationship with that majority population, and because we work through the churches, a real effective witness to the needs of suffering people really honors Christ and gives credibility to the message of the Gospel as proclaimed by the churches."