Out of sight, out of mind isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. There are undoubtedly happenings in our lives and the world at large we’d just assume ignore and falsely hope related problems will go away through our blissful ignorance.
The string of disasters which has struck South Asia over the past two weeks doesn’t qualify.
At Everyday Christian, we have reported on how Christian aid organizations have helped stand in the gap providing help in the wake of two typhoons and an earthquake. To review, through flooding, mudslides, a tsunami and torrential rains, India, the Philippines, Indonesia and the Samoan islands have all been seriously impacted.
- India: Food shortage areas potentially impacting hundreds of thousands of people. (BBC) Madeleen Helmer of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Center said of India’s rapid switch from a drought situation to massive flooding, “The problem with humanitarian aid agencies like ours is, what do you prepare for when after extreme drought, you have extreme floods? Climate change is telling us we have to prepare for both, that we are in an age of more uncertainty. It’s not easy and we’re not geared to do it, but we’ll have to be.”
- Indonesia: The quake zone on the island of Sumatra is still digging out from hundreds of deaths and massive damage. (Rueters) According to Jo Ann de Belen, country director of World Relief Indonesia, key needs are medical personnel, water for drinking and sanitation, and jerry cans, generators, blankets, lamps, mobile toilets and baby food.
- Philippines: U.S. Marines are involved in relief efforts in area of the Philippines where additional coffins are needed for the mounting dead bodies. (Associated Press) The area ain around the capital on Manila was inundated by rain as well. “Meeting the emotional needs of children in the wake of major disasters like this is a high priority for ChildFund,” added Dennis O’Brien, ChildFund Philippines national director. “We have five active evacuation centers, housing more than 500 families in metro Manila, where we have set up Child Centered Spaces (CCS) for children.”
Added Boy Bersales, World Vision’s emergency response director in the Philippines, “This is like déjà vu for the people of the Philippines. First, Typhoon Ketsana and now Parma. We’ve seen the rain, the wind, the flooding, the landslides and now it’s happening again. For me, as a relief worker and a Filipino, it’s so sad to see so many people suffering.”
- Samoa: Digging out and rebuilding is a slow process for the people of the Samoan islands as they try and piece their lives back together. (Voice of America)
The messages here are clear. Don’t turn a blind eye, either in terms of paying attention to the news and contributing to the relief effort. And as Christians, unquestionably, pray.