Tsunami victims still displaced eight months later

By August 12, 2005

Sri Lanka (MNN) — Many people in Sri Lanka continue living in refugee camps, with family members or on the street. Eight months after the tsunami that devastated the island nation and left thousands dead, the United Nations reports many of the victims are being ignored by the Sri Lankan government.

Back to the Bible’s Sri Lankan director James Kanaganayagam says they’re helping the victims as best they can with food, water and other essentials, but rebuilding is taking time. “The Sri Lankan government set a rule that permanent housing could not be constructed within 100 meters of the beach. This has actually prevented many people from being permanently settled because they have not been able to find alternative land.”

Christians are also helping by providing boats and nets to fisherman who lost their livelihood. Kanaganayagam says these are building blocks for outreach. “People in these areas are more open now to Christians, not because the Gospel hasn’t gone to these places before, but the people who have been anti-Christian, seem now to be more open because of the assistance and love they’ve seen: Christians sharing with no strings attached.”

Back to the Bible is also helping the local churches. “We’ve also been helping out with assisting pastors get back on their feet providing them with libraries, Bibles for Christians, as well as literature to encourage and motivate the believers.”

Kanaganayagam says that’s not all they’re doing. “We continue to air radio programs specifically to these tsunami affected people with messages not only of hope, but also showing them signs of what God is doing in other places through people who have gone through suffering.”

Funding is needed to help these programs stay on the air.

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