Tsunami: One year on, the storm still rages

26 December will be a painful anniversary for Ramanaiah.Although he escaped from the waves when the Tsunami struck, hispregnant wife could not run away. He tried to carry her to safetybut the water was too deep and too powerful. Their south Indianvillage had no road and there was no quick route to escape thetsunami, or to bring relief supplies in the aftermath. Survivorslike Ramanaiah were left with no means to support themselves ortheir remaining family members.

The Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) was one of thefirst charities to launch an emergency appeal in December 2004. Asa result, MRDF received over £1.4 million in donations and grants,its biggest ever response to an appeal. Local partner organisationsin India and Sri Lanka have used this money to provide much-neededlong-term support such as boats, fishing nets and traumacounselling.

Isabelle Carboni, from MRDF, has recently returned from visitingsouth India: 'The people I met were overwhelmed by the generosityof strangers. One woman hugged me tightly, saying: 'No one elsecame, no one helped us; you were the only ones here with us and yousaved us from our sadness'. MRDF partners were there from thebeginning, sharing people's suffering and working day and night tobring relief to these remote villages. Villagers told me how thisgave them hope that, even after a tragedy of this scale, they couldrebuild their lives'. Isabelle is available for interview and hasbrought back stunning images from her visit, which can be viewedat: www.methodist.org.uk/downloads/ne_posterlandscape_1205.pdf.

In Ramanaiah's village, rebuilding is underway, with the help ofMRDF partner Christian Weaker Section Development Society (CWSDS).One of the top priorities has been to build a new road andvillagers have contributed their own time and resources to itsconstruction. Ramanaiah says: 'This road is our joyÉFor a wholeweek, everyone worked on the road, old and young, every family. Wediscussed it with CWSDS and when they promised the money it cameimmediately.'

MRDF is now offering churches the opportunity to contribute to thelong-term rebuilding and to find out how their donations are makinga difference. Isabelle comments: 'Much has been achieved, but ayear is a short time to replace all that was lost. It is clearalready that small amounts of well-targeted support from the UK canmake a huge difference, but the impact of the Tsunami will carry onlong after this December.'