Sri Lanka (MNN) — Hundreds of flood victims in Sri Lanka stormed
a village government office in
Batticaloa Province, accusing local officials of unfair distribution of
emergency food aid.
Over a million people have been effected by the rising floodwaters
which inundated Ampara, Batticaloa, and Trincomalee, among other areas.
This is the same area
trying to recover from the devastation of the 2004 Asian tsunami and a 20-year
civil war. Adrian DeVisser with Asian Access
says their team is responding. "We have
churches in the eastern Province and the other provinces which have experienced
the flooding. Many of our believers are
making appeals to our headquarters. It
has not been possible for us to respond to all the needs."
They have been able to help with dry rations, but
shelter is another issue. Given the
scope of the disaster, the problem feels overwhelming. However, DeVisser says, "We really have three
immediate concerns that we are grappling with. One will be the immediate: rice,
sugar and other things that they need to [avoid] hunger. The
second problem that we're fearful (about) is disease, because people are
returning to their homes, and these homes have to be disinfected." The number of people in state-run relief
camps had dropped to 17,900 by Tuesday morning, according to the government's
disaster management center. Third, even beyond
the immediate crisis, there is concern
over the future food prices and livelihood.
However, Asian Access has a presence in the area. And DeVisser says they have the manpower to
respond: "Because I am leading a [leadership training] movement where we have many
people who are involved in these provinces, my [leadership training] movement and
Asian Access will come together to respond to the needs."
They just need help with getting the supplies. DeVisser explains, "I am compelled to believe that in our part of
the world, evangelism will be followed by love, because love opens the door for
people to see and understand the Gospel."
Asian Access is also committed to helping restore the communities. The church leaders are part of that
plan. Pray that not only will they have the resources
ready, but that their partners will have answers to the inevitable
questions that come. "When we respond not based not on religion/caste, people are
drawn to ask the question, ‘Why would you do this in such a sacrificial manner?' That
really opens the door to tell them why we do that: ‘It is the love of Christ.'"
As much as the appeals go out for financial help in these
situations, DeVisser says, "My prayer is that God will use this
calamity to bring glory to Himself by causing the people to ask some deeper questions about life and