Adoptions-at-a-distance, building projects and economic support are simultaneously on the move in order to guarantee prompt aid in the face of the emergency, as well as to provide the necessary support for the economic and social recovery and development of the devastated areas. Thanks to our Muslim friends, in Indonesia, roads have been opened so that aid can reach the people.
As of February 1, a total of € 280,000 has been collected from all over the world, even from the poorest areas, making it possible to mobilize initiatives in India, Indonesia and Thailand.
In Madras, Tamil Nadu, a young woman, together with her brother and friends, has organized an aid network for the local population. With the donations received, she is supporting 14 children under 2 years of age plus a few very needy adults, and has acquired medicines for a hospital run by the Franciscan Sisters of Madras. Now she is working at purchasing fishing nets for 333 families of Nagercoil, and school items for 250 children.
She writes: “In Nagercoil, some families earn their living by producing fishing nets, but they have lost almost everything. Each fisherman’s family would need 5 kilos of fishing net and if these are available we could help the families both of those who produce and those who use the nets. The fishermen are Catholics, Hindus and Muslims. They live in Kovalam village of Tamil Nadu, which is about two hours away from Madras. The Bishop of Kovalam’s effort to provide help has done much, but 333 families still remain unaided. A cardiologist from Madras has already donated a large fishing boat, and if the families have the nets, they could get back to work.
“These families do not so much need the daily ration of a plate of rice from the government, which they have to travel a long way to procure, as the kind of aid that will enable them to work again. Yesterday, my brother and his friend went to see how things are going and to bring the first batch of nets from Nagercoil to Kovalam (700 km). Trucks transporting gasoline provided them with free transportation. A total of €7,200 is needed for the fishing nets.
“There are two Catholic schools in the area, and the children who were traumatized by the catastrophe need help to be able to go back to school as soon as possible and return to normal life. We were able to find a uniform, shoes, a small blackboard and a notebook. We need supplies for 250 more children. The total cost to cover is about a thousand euros.”
The initiatives include: supplying nutrition and schooling for 400 children of Aceh and Nias who have been brought to Medan, as adoption-at- a-distance procedures are being finalized; assistance to E., a Muslim, who brings aid to a Muslim refugee camp in Aceh; the first “aid camp” in Sumatra. Two youth groups from Singapore have decided to spend their Chinese New Year holidays in Sumatra to assist tsunami victims and deliver the donations sent by AMU. Their service will be under the guidance of a Methodist pastor in Aceh, and a Catholic priest in Nias.
An initial funding of €36,000 was made to meet the costs of these projects.
We have decided to collaborate with the project of the Thai Bishops’Conference which aims to boost the local economyby providing fishing boats to the fishermen struck by the tsunami. €50,000 euros have been allotted for this purpose.