2nd Time Around…6 Years Later
On December 26, 2004 in the Indian Ocean a 9.0 earthquake occurred causing a tsunami that killed over 230,000 people along the western coast of Thailand and Indonesia's island of Sumatra. It changed the lives of many forever.
On Friday, March 11 another powerful earthquake measuring 8.9 occurred in the Pacific Ocean. The people along the coast of Japan watched as a tsunami, triggered by the earthquake came ashore. It has changed the lives of many forever.
In our efforts in serving those in Indonesia over the past 6 year, what have we learned about how we might help in disasters such as these?
- To rely on reports of need from those involved on the ground and that we partner with.
- Don't move so fast that we cause more harm than help. Understand that there are many involved in putting best practice plans together. These plans require numerous people with various skills and resources to step up at precise times. There are phases to our work, relief, rehabilitation and development. If the wrong response is applied chaos is created at a time when that's the last thing those trying to help need.
- We help after assessment is made and needs are prioritized.
How might we help?
- Funds designated to specific prioritized needs.
- Using our skills and going if….invited by those on the ground that have completed assessment and prioritized response.
In the days after December 26, 2004 a local newspaper called us to ask what our response might be to the tsunami. Our response remains the same today as it was then. We will wait and let those that can really help, help. We have partners on the ground and involved (Food for the Hungry Japan). In the days, weeks and months ahead when the world's attention has moved on to something else and, if those we partner with in Japan need us, we will be ready to help.
In John 13:34 (NIV) Jesus shares, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." And, in Matthew 22:37 (NIV) Jesus shares, "Love the Lord your god with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." It is important that we use all three of these. We must think things through first, because when we don't, this is what happens... (make sure you click on the link and watch the video. It gives a picture of what happens when we offer aid in a way that actually causes more problems...)
Mark Perraut, Global Outreach Director