PHOENIX, AZ -- January 4 -- The following update on tsunami relief efforts was released today by Food for the Hungry: A plea for help|
President Bush and his predecessors, Bill Clinton and George Bush Senior, have made a plea to Americans to give whatever they can to help the victims. About 5,000 Americans are reported missing from the disaster. Currently more than 1.8 million people need food assistance, and an estimated five million people are homeless.
Wave of destruction
"I have been all over the world, but I have never seen anything like this. The only way I can describe it is to imagine bombs dropped along the coast of Thailand. Whole villages are gone. Flat. FHI is working in one village called Nam Kheam. It used to have 8,000 people. Now, there is nothing. Only 500 shell-shocked people are accounted for," said Randy Hoag, Food for the Hungry International President.
How we are helping:
Food for the Hungry was on site less than 24 hours after the tsunami hit and has since began coordinating distributions of clean water and critically needed items including food, shelter and clothing through its many partners, teaming up with churches in Thailand, Sri Lanka and working with other local organizations to help victims in the following ways:
India: Food for the Hungry is working with local partner EFICOR and ESAF to provide food rations, hygiene supplies, clothes and on-site trauma counseling.
Indonesia: Food for the Hungry is working with local partner Church of the Holy Christ Indonesia to provide food packages and medical teams in refugee camps in Aceh province, the area hardest hit and closest to the epicenter of the earthquake.
Thailand: Food for the Hungry assessment team was on ground within 24 hours; distributions of water, food, clothing have reached 3,000 people and will continue; a mobile medical clinic arrived on Dec. 31 will serve 3,000 the first week.
Sri Lanka: Food for the Hungry is partnering with LEADS Sri Lanka to provide medical assistance, food and water distributions, well pumps and blankets to meet the needs of 10,000 families.
Positioned well on-the-ground
"Because we have a presence in 46 countries including nations throughout Asia, we are well-positioned to help," said Ben Homan, president of the Phoenix-based Food for the Hungry. With over 2,000 Food for the Hungry staff worldwide, we are able to assess the situation and respond quickly." Because we maximize our impact through networks of local volunteers in grassroots community organizations like churches, we are able to move into disaster situations swiftly and with cultural sensitivity.
More than halfway to $3 million goal
"We're aiming to raise $3 million in cash donations and gifts- in-kind with our partners for the initial relief campaign and we are well on our way," said Homan. "In 2004, Food for the Hungry sent 93 percent of all resource income directly to field programs including relief efforts. To-date we have sent over $1.5 million in cash and gifts-in-kind donations, so we are more than halfway to our goal. We are overwhelmed by the generosity of all who are coming together to provide for these victims... but we can't stop now when so many still need our help."
More donations needed
"The United Nations is calling this 'the largest humanitarian effort ever,' because of the challenge of coordinating assistance to 10 nations at the same time. The sheer scale and size of the disaster is more vast than any other relief operation in history," said Homan.
David Evans, Vice President of Government and Gift-in-Kind Resources said: "The disaster response effort is significantly more complex than most emergencies due to the huge geographical area that has been hit. It will take millions more to help these countries rebuild, let alone provide initial relief," said Evans. "We are currently looking at potential U.S. Government resources for longer-term help, including rehabilitation efforts, to get these people back to square
Meeting more than physical needs
Since the group's onset, Food for the Hungry's mission has been to provide physical and spiritual needs. "We are called to be there," said Homan. "Many of their family members have died and offering emotional comfort is a vital response in tandem with providing items to meet their physical needs. We are there to respond to the needs of the whole person and to give them hope in a seemingly hopeless situation," said Homan.
To help or donate:
Food for the Hungry is urging individuals to please help the victims by calling 1-800-2-HUNGERS or by donating online at http://www.fh.org/main_donate
About Food for the Hungry
Food for the Hungry currently impacts individuals in 46 countries providing emergency relief and implementing development programs throughout the world. This includes its field programs, exploratory programs and presence of local-country offices (National Organizations). The group helps the world's most disadvantaged people through child-development programs, agriculture and clean-water projects, health and nutrition programs, micro-enterprise loans and education; teaching communities to become self-sustaining. We are a Christian organization founded in 1971 by Dr. Larry Ward.
For more information, visit http://www.fh.org If you would like to view prayer needs for the victims in Asia, please visit http://www.fh.org/prayer_asia
To learn how Food for the Hungry meets spiritual and physical needs in 46 countries, visit http://www.fh.org/where_work