For the past month, far heavier than usual monsoon rains have fallen on Sri Lanka, swelling the rivers, flooding farmlands, and displacing more than 367,000 people to temporary camps.
As they return to their homes, people are finding that they have also suffered by losing livestock, crops, businesses, and even family members. Thirty-eight deaths have been reported.
"Nearly 1.2 million flood-affected people in Sri Lanka are in need of your prayers. This disaster has struck silently, barely reaching our North American media, yet it is a very real and urgent need for the people of Sri Lanka," says Wayne de Jong, director of Disaster Response for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee.
Members of the Christian Reformed Church and others have helped support CRWRC in responding to the floods, but more help is still needed.
"With our equity in the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and matching funds from the Canadian government (CIDA), CRWRC is providing three months worth of food to 1,500 families," says de Jong.
"This gift of rice, lentils, oil, sugar, salt, chilies, garlic, and tea is helping families survive now that they have returned to their homes, but have no source of income and/or have lost their crops. In addition, we are using funds that had previously been donated to our annual gift catalog to provide kitchen kits, hygiene supplies, and safe drinking water to 400 families."
De Jong says that is a “wonderful blessings CFGB and the gift catalog are enabling us to draw on funds right away to meet immediate needs, before having to appeal to our supporters. You may in fact have already helped to meet the current needs in Sri Lanka by contributing towards the CFGB program or purchasing gift catalog items in the past.
"We certainly encourage you to continue supporting CRWRC in these ways - and don’t forget that CFGB Sunday (in Canada) is coming up on March 6," says de Jong.
Unfortunately, the need in Sri Lanka is greater than CRWRC’s current funds can meet.
"We are hoping to help people restore their livelihoods by restocking fish ponds, distributing livestock and poultry, and providing seeds, tools, and other implements. We’d also like to repair and clean wells and provide temporary shelter to families. To do this, we need to raise an additional $100,000," says de Jong.
Besides financial resources, "prayers for CRWRC and our partners ZOA Refugee Care and LEADS are greatly needed," says de Jong.
"Pray for the safety of staff and for wisdom and energy as they go about the task of managing this relief project. Pray for the Sri Lankan people who are living through this tragedy. If you are able, please also prayerfully consider making a donation to CRWRC's 'Sri Lanka Flood Response 2011'."
For information on giving, visit: CRWRC donation resources.