IOCC Responding to Massive Earthquake/Tidal Waves Disaster in South Asia

Baltimore, MD (December 28, 2004) — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is joining with its partner Church World Service to respond immediately to the massive earthquake disaster throughout Southern Asia. Together with CWS, IOCC is developing a regional response to the crisis, focusing initially on hardest-hit areas in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, and elsewhere, and CWS disaster assessment and relief teams are on their way to the region now.

The fourth largest earthquake in recorded history has wreaked major destruction across nearly a dozen countries in Southern Asia. The initial quake, which struck 100 miles off the coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island at around 7 a.m. Sunday, measured 9.0 in magnitude on the Richter scale and was part of a powerful series of earthquakes. The undersea quakes triggered enormous tidal waves which swept across the Indian Ocean, striking coastal regions of Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Burma and Malaysia, and elsewhere. The death toll across the region is now estimated at over 44,000, and this toll continues to rise.

As part of its regional relief effort, IOCC is helping to support a CWS airlift of critical medical and shelter supplies to the region, including shipments of supplies from its warehouse facility in New Windsor, Maryland. CWS is shipping to its local offices, and to its partners–including the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka and other local organizations–family shelter kits containing tents, plastic sheeting, and other shelter essentials for families rendered homeless by the disaster, and medical kits with urgently needed medicines and medical supplies. This initial phase will also involve shipping thousands of blankets, health kits and other relief supplies to Indonesia for distribution by CWS disaster response teams there.

IOCC has established a goal of $100,000 for the initial phase of its relief efforts. This appeal will be updated as response and recovery actions continue and expand in the coming days.