"The response by people has been both overwhelming and heart-warming, and we are grateful for the donations that have been pouring in. But the needs are increasing. We have received more emails from our partners in India and slowly the full scope of the devastation is emerging. It is much worse than we had originally anticipated," says Brent Hample, Executive Director.
The death toll in India as of December 31 is over 10,000 and climbing. One of India Partners=80f agencies in India has mobilized a relief team for the people in a devastated area that is 10km away from the sea, but 7 feet below sea level. Rev. Parishudha Babu writes, "Hundreds of villages were affected and submerged in sea water. Thousands of homes were destroyed. Many villages became graveyards. Nearly 2,000 people have died. Nearly 100 people representing 15 nearby villages have come to us crying for help. Today the tidal waves spread 1 km from the sea, onto land. People are very frightened again, all the coastal villagers are so fearful."
The people are facing unimaginable suffering, both physically and emotionally. Rev. Babu tells of several people who lost loved ones and then died themselves from the shock; an elderly couple who depended upon their fisherman son for their living died the day after learning of his loss in the sea, heartbroken. A girl who was engaged to be married was not able to bear the shock of her fiancée's death in the tsunami and died the next day.
"We are unable to explain the weight of the sorrow we have for the people that lost their loved ones as well as their houses. They are still living in the cold, in hunger and in suffering," writes Rev. Babu.
$28,000 has been donated as of December 31 to purchase emergency food, blankets, clothing and medicine. The long-term goal is to send much more as well as to send indigenous medical teams to the area and to help rebuild the destroyed villages.
India Partners has been in contact with Bright Hope International, a Chicago-based relief agency and also with EFICOR and Northwest Medical Teams. Hample anticipates collaboration among relief agencies in an effort to distribute supplies more efficiently as well as send medical teams to the hardest-hit areas of India.
India Partners is well positioned to provide humanitarian help; the agency currently has partner organization offices along the southeast coast of India that include Madras-Chennai, Machilipatnam, and Kakinada. India Partners has been working in India for 20 years and has been involved in past disaster relief efforts in India involving cyclones, earthquakes and fires.
To help India Partners provide an emergency response in India, here=80fs how to donate:
By phone: toll free: 1-888-870-9085, local: 541-683-0696
By mail: India Partners, Tsunami Relief, PO Box 5470 Eugene, OR 97405
Contact: Brent Hample, Executive Director, Eugene, Oregon: 541-683-0696