Event media

You are here

Tsunami Disaster Relief Overview

Our Southeast Asia mission bases are working night and day to help relieve the suffering in Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia. Our hearts go out to all those affected by this terrible disaster. Our heartfelt sympathy and earnest prayers are with the victims and we are sending support to help enable our mission bases to do all they can in the form of encouragement and aid in this time of need.

On the morning of December 26th, an enormous underwater earthquake hit Indonesia. A few hours later the waves caused by the upheaval washed the shores of countries facing the Indian Ocean. With little or no warning, hundreds of thousands of people, and everything else in the way, were violently washed away by the giant tsunami waves.

For our mission bases in Thailand (The Family International - Bangkok Thailand), it was apparent that they had to do everything in their power to help. They immediately started collecting goods and sent a 2-man team to Phuket to find out what the biggest needs were and where they should distribute the goods they were collecting. With the generous help of many friends, in a matter of days, they were able to fill a 6-wheel truck with several tons of goods, including blankets, clothing, toiletry items, rice, pots and pans, drinking water and much more.

From the newspapers and TV, it was obvious that the destruction was great. But they had no idea how total the destruction was until they saw it firsthand. Miles and miles of resorts, houses and villages had been washed away. In their place, the land was littered with reminders of what had been there: Refrigerators, baby buggies, blenders, bubble jet printers, motorbikes, cars, lamps, toys, light poles and electric wires.

The Family International in Thailand mobilized 30 volunteers and humanitarian aid to assist the survivors of the tsunamis that battered Thailand's southern coasts on the morning of December 26th. Family volunteers are engaged in hospital visitation in both Phuket and Phangna provinces (Wachira Hospital, Patong Hospital, Takua Pa Hospital and Phangna Hospital) and Bangkok (Police Hospital and Srinakarin Hospital – to where some survivors were airlifted), bringing a message of comfort, solidarity and hope that broken hearts and destroyed homes can be restored.

Volunteers offered both translation and coordinating services for injured and surviving foreigners, as well as for foreigners coming to Thailand to identify or pick up relatives, which provincial officials in Phuket and Phangna have sincerely welcomed.

They also visited refugee centers and orphanages in Phangna, bringing smiles and a ray of light to otherwise discouraged faces. The Department of Social Welfare has requested the Family’s ongoing assistance in the establishment of orphanages, as more than 100 children lost their parents to the deadly tsunamis, though officials say they expect more orphans to be rescued in the coming days. A second team of Family volunteers is now in Phuket for this particular purpose, and will focus on helping them cope with their losses through personal attention and play therapy. Volunteers will continue to help with this project on an ongoing rotational basis.

Since the 26th, Family volunteers have collected and transported approximately 10 tons of donated supplies, clothing and food, which was distributed directly to affected villagers. Still urgently needed supplies include: construction materials, bottled water; clothing; dry foodstuffs (rice, instant noodles, powdered milk, etc.); undergarments; shoes; toiletries; tents; blankets and bedding; pots and cooking utensils, etc.

Monetary donations in whatever way possible would go a long way in allowing us to field as many volunteers as possible (and for as long as possible) to the most severely affected areas, as well as in procuring further desperately needed aid.

Staff from the Family International help organize donated supplies. Of course, this only a drop in the bucket when compared with the immense need that exists--whole villages were washed away when the waves hit, and thousands of already very poor people have lost their homes and all their belongings--and it will take more than just food and clothing to rebuild their livelihoods, and perhaps more importantly, to lift their despairing spirits and strengthen the will to start again and continue on.

We would like to request your assistance in whatever way possible--whether through monetary donations or gifts in kind--to aid in the rebuilding of lives and villages in southern Thailand's coastal regions.