Worst flood in years hits Sri Lanka

By January 9, 2013

Sri Lanka (MNN/GFA) — The last 18 days of 2012 brought torrential rains, floods, and landslides to Sri Lanka, affecting 400,000 people and changing lives forever. As weather subsides, many of the displaced are now returning to find their homes, crops, and livestock completely destroyed.

The Canadian government announced this week that they'll be contributing aid to the victims of this disaster in the form of blankets, bed sheets, towels, soap, and drinking water to people who lost their belongings in the floods.

"Although Sri Lanka is geographically situated to endure frequent flooding, this is the worst in eight years," said K. P. Yohannan, president of Gospel for Asia (GFA). "Unlike people in other areas of the world, the vast majority of Sri Lankans do not have the option of relocating to areas less prone to flooding. We must minister to them where they are as they try to normalize life."

More than two weeks of torrential rains and strong winds leading up to Christmas brought floods and landslides that killed at least 20 people. Seven are still missing.

"As flood waters contaminated wells, clean water was a major first concern," said Yohannan. "With hundreds of Gospel for Asia national missionaries already in place, we were able immediately to provide victims water, along with rice, lentils, and oil."

GFA compassionate ministry teams began cleaning wells to eliminate water-borne diseases as quickly as possible. Others worked to provide basic temporary shelter even as rain continued.

"But the majority of the work is restoration," said Yohannan. "There is much hard work ahead."

The crops that provide many families their only source of income are completely destroyed. Families' goats and chickens are gone.

"In all that we do, we listen and love, showing people a greater hope," said Yohannan. "As they discover a God who loves them, they are opening their hearts to the good news."

To help Sri Lankans recover and rebuild, call 800-946-2742 or visit www.gfa.org/flood/srilanka. 100% of all donations received go directly to relief aid.

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