Relief work in Sri Lanka continues with plans to move into Community Health Evangelism.

By March 16, 2005

Sri Lanka (MNN)–A strike hit a northeastern Sri Lankan town over the government’s slow tsunami relief distribution. The multi-ethnic coastal town was at a virtual standstill with transport brought to a halt by protestors blocking the main entry points.

The Sri Lankan government said earlier this month it had received pledges of over one billion dollars for tsunami relief, but only a small amount of that had been delivered.

The cost of replacing infrastructure damaged by the tsunami in Sri Lanka has been estimated at over 1.5 billion dollars. To put it into perspective, the International Monetary Fund says that’s about 7.5 percent of gross domestic product.

Of the money coming in, government officials have been accused of stealing funds to line their own pockets, increasing the lagtime in getting emergency supplies to the tsunami survivors.

However, Medical Ambassador International’s Paul Calhoun says they haven’t had trouble in distribution. They’re partnered with ‘L.E.A.D.S.’, or the Lanka Evangelical Alliance Development Services, coordinated with local governments. “We’ve been able to deliver 212,000 food packets, and assist over 3,300 families. There has been about 1000 temporary shelters given out, and we’re in the process of rebuilding hundreds of permanent homes.”

Calhoun says the most exciting phase of their program has yet to come–Community Health Evangelism. “We not only work with the physical need, but also, we train the villagers, themselves, to be able to share, with the members of their community, the hope of the Redeemer.”

The program may start by teaching adults how to read. Once CHE’s are ready to grow, they may organize the people in their communities to protect a number of springs in the area which bring the people good water thereby greatly reducing sickness and death.

MAI is also helping the children in Sri Lanka who witnessed the tsunami disaster. Many survived, but are now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Calhoun says they’re also launching a trauma counseling ministry to help them deal with the aftereffects of the crisis.

MAI is still in the progress of recruiting staff required at Head Office. They are still seeking a suitable location to relocate the Head Office to a new complex to facilitate smoother operations. Please pray.

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