|Christian Compassion Speeds Rebuilding in Banda Aceh
09 January 2006
The tsunami hit the day after Christmas in 2004, Operation Blessing (OB) and other Christian relief organizations went to help, in Christ-like compassion. They helped everyone, including Muslims. But what about now?
It's been almost exactly a year since the tsunami hit South East Asia, killing more than 200,000 people.
In the hardest-hit area of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, the recovery is going faster than expected, thanks largely to the efforts of private relief groups, including CBN's Operation Blessing.
Banda Aceh was the largest city to receive the full fury of the tsunami.
It left tens of thousands of people dead and massive destruction beyond anyone's imagination.
After the tsunami, this city was a total wasteland, rubble piled up, and corpses lying everywhere. The destruction was so overwhelming that the people of Aceh believed it would take at least several years for them to rebuild.
But recovery has come faster than most people expected because of the many organizations that have come, and stayed, to help.
Operation Blessing Indonesia is one of those groups. From day one of its disaster relief operations, right up to the present, its staff and volunteers tirelessly serve the Acehnese victims of the tsunami.
Also, Operation Blessing doctors and dentists volunteer in the primary health centers in Aceh. They also supply free medicines for the patients and they conduct medical clinics in the refugee camps, treating 50 patients every day.
To alleviate the poor condition of health and sanitation, Operation Blessing also provided water-wells for the refugees.
Salmawati was a tsunami victim. She still grieves over the loss of her two daughters in the tsunami but thanks Operation Blessing for taking care of the health needs of her other children.
Salmawati told us, “I thank the Operation Blessing doctors. My children don't get sick. But I really wish we could move to a house soon.”
Just a few months after she and others voiced that desire, Salmawati and other refugees were relocated to boarding houses built by Operation Blessing Indonesia.
Even now, more boarding houses are being built to accommodate more families.
Operation Blessing also built several houses in the villages, including several just for teachers and school administrators whose houses were swept away by the tsunami. Dormitories have also been built to accommodate students who have no place else to stay.
To restore the shattered livelihood of the Acehnese, several fishing boats were given away to fishermen who had lost their only means of income.
In addition, Operation Blessing helped train other victims to earn a living through brick-making and fish-farming.
There is still a long way to go before Aceh can completely rise from the rubble and from the scars of those who are left behind to heal….
But the accomplishment in the past year is proof that love, compassion and unity can enable men, women and children to face the challenge of even the worst disaster—and overcome!
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