Six-month Ongoing Ministry Anticipated for Rebuilding Lives of Victims Losing Everything
CARROLLTON, Texas – In Bangladesh and parts of Myanmar (Burma) where Tropical Storm Mahasen left hundreds of thousands displaced and homeless, Gospel for Asia (GFA) missionaries are on the job delivering food, clothing and temporary shelter.
Gospel for Asia (www.gfa.org) will still be involved in this crisis far into 2013. No immediate aid will substitute for the long-term recovery of those who lost everything in one storm.
“There will be months of agony for these suffering people long after the media has forgotten,” said K. P. Yohannan, Gospel for Asia founder and president, “Rebuilding the lives of those who have lost everything will be the long and difficult task fulfilled by those who remember and remain.”
Tropical Storm Mahasen made landfall in the coastal areas of Bangladesh, where almost one million people had been evacuated. Early reports of casualties may be grossly understated because the storm ripped through mainly rural areas. The storm surge destroyed thousands of primitive living quarters, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless or displaced.
The Muslim Rohingya living on both sides of the Myanmar (Burma) border were also affected. At least 150,000 had been displaced last year by ethnic violence and were living in temporary camps in low-lying areas easily swamped by the storm.
Cyclones in this area are almost annual events. Their toll is exponentially more severe here, given the instability of living quarters, most of which are small huts or shacks.
“These people have lost everything: their goats and chickens, their children’s school books, their clothing, their simple livelihood—all has been washed away,” said Yohannan. “Fleeing for their lives, they salvaged only what they could carry on their heads or in their arms.”
GFA missionaries and their fellowships were established parts of these communities and equipped to respond immediately in the moments following the disaster. They are trained to counsel in crises and will be available to help long-term as lives are rebuilt.
“In the darkness of these desperate people, we have the opportunity to bring hope and to share the love of Christ through physical help,” said Yohannan. “Hundreds of people far away can respond in prayer and support for those who have lost every earthly possession.”
To contribute to the victims of the Bangladesh storm, visit www.gfa.org/cyclone.