Believers’ work in the tsunami region continues, despite negative reports.

By March 22, 2005

Asia (MNN)–It is March 22nd…almost three months since the Asian tsunami disaster killed 300,000 people.
The giant wave left many thousands more without their homes and livelihoods. And then came the march of disease. Countries around the world leapt to provide promises of help.

However, international tsunami pledges are slow in coming. Of the assistance actually coming in, the Asian Development Bank says there is a huge gap between needs and actual monies.

According to the latest reports, the ADB estimates that it still needs $4 billion (USD) in contributions to help countries recover from the Asian tsunami. It’s a task that seems insurmountable.

But, put into perspective, there is much of the affected area that will need to be completely rebuilt (see photo). Amidst accusations that the promised help won’t make it where needed, some groups are determined.

International Aid’s Dean Agee, speaking from Sri Lanka, says. “I’m happy to report that we went to clinics that were operating in Sri Lanka. We’ve got aid and clinics set up in Indonesia. We’ve seen programs underway in India. Is everything exactly where we’d like it? No, it’s not there yet, but the distribution system seems to be working pretty well.”

That’s good news in an arena that seems destined to only bear the brunt of bad news. But there’s more. Agee says that the feared epidemics never materialized in the refugee camps. Is it an issue of the prayers of the faithful or medicine? Both.

More specifically, in Indonesia, I-A has provided shipments that include 15 medical clinics, 17 water purification systems, over-the-counter and prescription medicines; blankets; hygiene products; rice, and baby items including juice, diapers and layettes.

Trauma counseling sessions facilitated by I-A and Rev. Warren Dale in Jakarta and Banda Aceh have trained counselors and trainers.

I-A has provided $50,000 worth of food for India and helped with a shipment of $5.5 million worth of prescription and over-the-counter medications for Sri Lanka.

And in the face of great despair, there is hope. Agee says the outreach aspect of the relief is in everything they do. “In International Aid, we operate off of Matthew 25 and Matthew 28. That is, we fulfill the Great Commission by taking care of the least of these. That’s certainly what we’re doing here. Our partners throughout the region are Christian organizations and so by helping them, we’re strengthening their ministries to their own neighbors.”

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