Missionary among the survivors of Sri Lanka floods

By January 18, 2011

Sri Lanka (GFA/MNN) — A million people have been
affected by the floods that have battered Sri Lanka for weeks. The government estimates damages at
$500 million.

With so many who
have been impacted by the disaster, it's no surprise that a missionary supported by Gospel
for Asia
was among the survivors. 

GFA's partner, whom they call Anthony, serves as a
pastor in the Batticaloa district–one of the hardest hit areas. Although he and his family escaped, they lost
everything in a flash flood last week and took refuge with relatives.

Sri Lanka has borne the brunt of several major
flooding events in the last 12 months. This latest is the result of unusually
heavy monsoon rains that have been falling since November.

The flooding and subsequent landslides came as the
people were recovering from a 20-year-old civil war, which ended in 2009. This same area was also hit in 2004 by the
Asian Tsunami.  

Along with the thousands of homes that were swept
away, there are more than 200,000 acres of crops under water.

Gospel for Asia Compassion Services teams are
already venturing out into the affected areas to bring emergency relief to the
people. Last week, they took 200 food packets to people in the Batticaloa
region.

Each food packet contained rice, lentil beans
(dhal), sugar, dried fish and soya meat (soy protein and meat substitute). The
families also received soap so they can prevent the spread of disease which frequently happens after floods. 

The teams also handed out mats to people who
are sleeping on floors in the emergency shelters, which are mostly in
schools.

"Gospel for Asia's Compassion Services Teams are
there to help, to listen, to pray and to share the love found in Jesus Christ,"
Gospel for Asia President Dr. K.P. Yohannan explains. "Of course we will meet
their immediate physical needs, but we'll also be there to tell them about a
cure for their spiritual hunger and a love that will long outlast the food we
give them."

The teams encountered difficulty reaching the
affected areas because of high water; however, they persisted, and their
vehicles were able to make it through some of the flooding, for which they are
thanking the Lord.

"I spoke with our Sri Lanka country leader last
Thursday morning, and he was heartbroken as he told me about the massive
devastation," Dr. Yohannan said. "I assured him that our commitment to care for
the suffering is strong and that we will commit whatever resources necessary to
help these people rebuild their lives. We will continue to get teams in to
deliver emergency supplies as long as necessary, and we'll also commit to
working with them for the long-term."

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