Silver Spring, Maryland, United States …. [ADRA/ANN Staff]

With today’s reports putting the number of deaths in South Asia at more than 120,000 related to Sunday’s earthquake and ensuing tsunami in South Asia, Seventh-day Adventists are continuing to work with other humanitarian organizations in the devastated nations. Pastor Jan Paulsen, president of the Adventist world church has also issued a statement on the disaster.

In its largest ever response to a natural disaster, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has been working non-stop to reach as many survivors as possible in India, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Andaman Islands.

While details of the casualties are sketchy, there is concern that disease springing from lack of clean water, shelter and sanitation can cause even more deaths. However, flooded roads and washed out bridges have made it difficult to get aid to those who need it most.

“What can be said in the face of a tragedy such as this?” Pastor Paulsen asked in an earlier statement. “It is on a scale that is difficult to comprehend.

“We are called to be agents of hope and healing in this world,” Paulsen continued. “Healing has both physical and spiritual dimensions, and we will do our best to provide both.”

Attempting to immediately meet the pressing physical needs of survivors in South Asia, ADRA international and its offices worldwide are working together. In addition to providing a 10-day supply of food and drinking water to 7,250 residents of the coastal town of Tamil Nadu, India, ADRA is also reaching out to the 90,000 residents in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is distributing World Health Organization emergency kits which have a one-month supply of medicine. The medicines arrived with a team of medical specialists. ADRA is also providing formula for 1,000 infants and, bottles of drinking water and purification tablets, and additional emergency medical aid. Water specialists are also arriving from South Africa to rehabilitate the bulk water supply.

In Indonesia, ADRA worked with the governments of Spain and the Czech Republic to airlift relief items. ADRA offices from around the world have already distributed food to the towns of Lhokeseumawe and Biruen. There are also plans to airlift food, blankets and water purifying tablets to be distributed in Banda Aceh. Thursday evening hundreds of personal care kits and nearly 250 pounds of toilet paper arrived in Indonesia.

In Thailand, ADRA is doing the same providing care packages with food, personal care items, medicines and clothing for 3,000 people in Phuket Province.

In the Andaman Islands, ADRA is distributing non-food emergency items such as blankets, clothing, and shelter materials.

So far the United Nations reports a combined $1.2 billion U.S. dollars in aid has been pledged by nations such as the United States, Britain, Sweden, France, Spain, and the World Bank and other humanitarian organizations. Still, ADRA and church leaders are pleading for additional aid.

ADRA has set up a crisis command center in Bangkok, Thailand to coordinate its network-wide response.

For more information visit ADRA’s Web site at www.adra.org or by calling 800-424-ADRA (2372).

Related Sites

ADRA International Visit the ADRA International Web site for continuing updates on relief efforts for victims of the Asia Tsunamis, as well as to make a secure online donation.

Adventist News Network chronicles the destruction and how Adventist institutions are responding to the disaster.

Adventist News Network Residents in the coastal town of Tamil Nadu, receive help from ADRA’s office in India.

Copyright © 2005 by Adventist News Network.

Image by Image by ANN. Reuters/Arko Datta, courtesy of www.alertnet.org

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