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More Indigenous Leaders Join Cries for Aid to Thailand Flood Victims

October 25, 2011

A growing chorus of indigenous leaders here are calling upon Christian Aid Mission to send more help for them to reach out to their suffering neighbors. "Thailand is experiencing its worst flooding in over 60 years," says one leader, "Nearly 30 provinces have been flooded with thousands losing their homes, churches and businesses. Over 300 have been killed in Thailand alone."

The Chao Phraya River continues to threaten the Thai capital as it has for over two weeks. It is an unstoppable wall of water that keeps coming and coming say observers. In nearby Myanmar, at least 100 bodies were recovered over the weekend from the Irrawaddy River which is also in flood stage. Hundreds more are missing and presumed dead.

Changes of dry clothing are essential ... Many are still wearing the clothes they had when they fled their homes at the start of the flood weeks ago. Bed rolls are needed as well as water, food packs, medicine, and gospel literature.

The Southeast Asian director for Christian Aid says that there are also great needs in neighboring Cambodia. The huge deluge knows no boundaries or borders, and is turning the lower areas of Southeast Asia into a vast lake. Indigenous missionaries have organized a flotilla of small boats to deliver disaster relief along with a strong witness for Christ. They are being assisted with help from Christian Aid Mission of Charlottesville, Virginia, which has set up an emergency fund to send relief to the most affected areas.

Over 50 churches have been damaged or destroyed so far. In addition to the emergency aid needed now, more help will be needed to rebuild after the floodwaters subside.

"Here, in Thailand, there is no escaping the consequences of this flood," said one missionary. "People are living on their rooftops, grocery stores are running out of dry foods, and sand has become a rare commodity. Those who have not experienced the flood first hand are waiting in fear that it will come at any moment. "For Christians, it is a time for prayer and a time to take action. Please ask all our American friends to join in this effort, most importantly, by praying for the people of Thailand and for these churches in Central Thailand specifically. Pray that this time of crisis will bring people to Christ and pray for strength and faith for the Christians who are suffering.

"Another way you can help is to join in our goal to raise $500 for each of the 50 churches suffering from the floods. If you or your church will commit to praying for us or giving financially to this relief effort, please reply to Christian Aid."

The Indigenous missionaries need emergency funds from Christian Aid to rent more rescue boats, purchase gasoline and deliver emergency food packages, water, dry bedding, and medicine as well as gospel literature. A week's supply of rice, noodles and other staples costs only $5 per "food pack." A motor launch can carry up to 4000 food packets of emergency aid on a single visit to stranded villagers who are marooned on high ground. Bed rolls cost about $30 per family, and thousands are needed for those living without shelter.

Christian volunteers load food and water onto rented and borrowed boats. To survive the floods and set up camp on higher ground, a small family needs about $100 in relief goods.

Over 600 have been killed in the Central plains of Thailand and Cambodia since the current floods began in July, and the death toll continued to climb over the weekend as the floodwaters breached the inner walls and dykes of Bangkok. A combination of monsoon rain, floods, mudslides and high tides have coincided to create some of the highest waters in history on the Mekong and Chao Phraya Rivers. Many lowland areas in the central plains have been under water for six weeks now.

The areas in most need include Banpa Inn District (Ayuthaya), Utai Tharni City (Uthai Thani), Nakorn Sawan and the northern suburbs of Bangkok. The entire industrial district has been flooded here in the capital city. In many of these areas, flood victims have been forced to evacuate as many as three times and have lost everything they own.

The work of responding to Thailand's 2011 flood tragedy will go on for years. Long term help from individuals and churches will continue to be needed. For more information, contact the Donor Relations Department at Christian Aid Mission, 1-800-977-5650.

Church groups who wish to make this a special Thanksgiving offering or sponsor a Christmas relief project in Thailand or Myanmar are invited to contact the Southeast Asia Director for further assistance.

Christian missions to migrants and illegal refugees are in special need. One missionary leader assisted by Christian Aid said that "Migrant workers have been facing more difficulties because they are not on the help lists and not registered in their communities. They are denied assistance by government and NGO charities because they don't legally exist." Many of these are Christian refugees of persecution in nearby Burma.


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