Sargunam continues: “While our heart goes out to the families of the dead and those who lost their possessions, we won’t just sit back and sympathize with them, but will do something concrete to mitigate the misery of the victims. ECI has already swung into action, providing an immediate relief of 2000 food packages, which will be distributed to the victims in the Chennai area this evening. We are planning to follow this up with a five-day relief program of providing one square meal to 10,000 victims everyday for the next five days and then once the floodwaters recede and the inundated areas dry up completely, put up tarpaulin-sheet shelters for 5000 families, besides giving each of these families a set of cooking utensils and rations for a week.”


Doctor Ajith Fernando, who is considered by some to be the “Billy Graham of Sri Lanka”, heads up the Youth for Christ (YFC) office there. A long-time friend and partner of NDI, he wrote to Williams from Sri Lanka:  “What a sad day this has been! We keep hearing of more and more friends and loved ones of friends who have died or lost much of their belongings. … The death toll for Sri Lanka alone is over 10,000 and keeps rising. … We have prayed and wept for our nation for many years. The most urgent of my prayers has always been that my people would turn to Jesus. I pray that this terrible, terrible tragedy might be used by God to break through into the lives of many of our people.”


Fernando says that YFC’s leadership team is meeting now to decide how to respond long-term to the crisis. The primary plan is to help those in YFC who have lost their homes and property. Second, they will probably take on projects for Christian relief organizations, giving YFC volunteers and resources to help them fulfill their goals.


Back in the United States, NDI has already begun to support these efforts. “Today we are going ahead and sending by faith $12,000 just to help with immediate needs such as food and fresh drinking water,” says Williams. “ECI has already put together a meal program that costs 50 cents a person to feed a person one hot nourishing meal a day, and costs 5 cents for drinking water. That’s one of the areas we are helping them with – in the deployment first of all, and then trying to raise long-term resources.”


CRWRC is also busy talking with its partners in South Asia and with other relief organizations in North America to develop a plan to get food and other essentials to earthquake survivors as fast as possible.


“It is important at times like this to not only send needed supplies, but to also help the local people play a part in the response,” says Jacob Kramer, CRWRC’s Relief Coordinator. “They need to know that they can do something to overcome this tragedy.” 


That’s why CRWRC’s response will be carried out in conjunction with local organizations. CRWRC has already made $30,000 available for purchasing and distributing emergency food, water and supplies in Northern Sumatra (Indonesia), Sri Lanka, and the coastal area of India.