India (MNN) — In 2004, one of the deadliest tsunamis in recent history devastated the southeast coast of India. It killed over 8,000 people, and more than 150,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Pondicherry and Andhra Pradesh. Repairs were estimated to cost about $1.2 billion.
In 2005, some 10,000 victims remained in temporary shelters. Fast-forward seven years. Have things gotten any better?
"Life is still really hard," said Donna Glass with India Partners. "Government money only went so far."
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the 2004 tsunami was generated by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that released the energy of 23,000 Hiroshima-type atomic bombs. Waves reached a height of 50 feet in some places. The livelihood of many fishermen living along the coast of Andhra Pradesh was utterly destroyed. Many could only find work as day laborers and lost easy access to medical care.
Today, families often have to choose between working to put food on the table and traveling a day or two to get medicine. Medical vans help by bringing clinics and supplies to remote villages. After receiving their treatments, patients also hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, Glass added.
She said these vans often mean the difference between life and death for villagers.
Parents often have to choose between working to provide food for their families and making a one or two day journey for medical access. Such was the case for a single mother when her children became infected with malaria. The mother wasn't able to take time off of work to seek medical aid, and her kids became sicker as a result.
Glass said the children had reached a critical point when the medical van arrived.
"They were at the point of dehydration, such that they would have died if the van had not shown up with this intervention," she recounted.
India Partners purchased the medical van for this ministry in 2008, with the help of Rotary International. The ministry has operated a medical clinic since the early 90's, Glass recounted, but the addition of a medical van has drastically improved their ability to meet villagers' needs.
The ministry is ongoing, said Glass. So is their need.
"People are really willing to do relief work," she stated, "but it's the long-term restoration of livelihood that is still a problem."
India Partners needs your help to keep this ministry going. Click here to support this ministry; select "Medical Vehicle" from the drop-down list. $285 can take care of a whole village.
"That's a big thing, and I understand that," Glass conceded. "Not everyone can do that."
Whether you can give or not, pray. Pray that God would provide this care for villagers in Andhra Pradesh.