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Cyclone update message

Dear PRP board and Friends,

I went and visited some more areas today. The water seems to have subsided considerable since Monday. But electrical Telephone lines are still down. I drove around town tonight and it looks like approximately 10 % of the population has electricity. It looks like it may be another month or so before electricity is all straightened out.  Roads are slowly being cleared away for traffic. 

Today, I visited the house of the president of the Ankilifaly church. He is one of the more successful business men in our churches. His wife is the head of the Mothers Union. As soon as she saw me walk into her house and she came to greet me she could bare the pain of the last five days and began to cry uncontrollable for at least five minutes. Her pain was very real, everything in her house had been damage or destroyed. Her husband told us the story that at 8 am on Saturday people came running to them saying the dyke had broken. People where running down the street with there belongs on top of their heads. The water was only 200 yards away. Within 30 minutes their house had 4-5 feet of water. They had to evacuate their house but not until they found someone to watch their belongings.

She then told us about things which had been destroyed such as their important papers, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, motorcycle paper, pictures and etc had be destroyed. She then said as she wept, "Look at our bibles" which had tripled in size due to the water. I'm not sure how people in the west would have cried over a water logged bible being ruined. We would have just gone out and bought another one. We would have thought of it another material possession which can be replaced. That wasn't the case for this woman. It was her bible which had special meaning to her life. It was something in her home, maybe the only thing in her home which had a sense of sacredness which was now ruined. Lord help me to learn from my parishioners.

I heard a story today about a women who had the equivalent of $1,000 in her home. About 10 months salary. When the rains came it destroyed the money. It's useless now.

One sad things through this all has been the looting. The house behind them had been evacuated from 9-12 noon. By the time the owners came back the thieves had taken most of their materials, electronics and furniture.

A hardware shop owner whom we buy most of building supplies from to me, he shop was broken into just after the storm had passed around midnight or so. They stole money and checks from the cash register.

Thank you for your continuous faithful prayers during this disaster. It kind of reminds me about creation. In the midst of chaos God created something good. I believe he will do the same for us in the new diocese of Toliara.

Another side note which has become very frustrating has been the lack of local government authorities and organization assisting the people and responding to the cyclone on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It was not until the president arrived on Monday that we saw the regional and city authorities begin to work. The police where scarce and difficult to find over the weekend. I did come across some local utility company working on Sunday afternoon. It seemed that their emergency relief and response was based on whatever was coming out of Antananarivo. 

Since Monday there seems to be more of an action plan in place. As of Wednesday morning, the govern still had not declared an national declaration of emergency. Not sure why?  we could have 

Serving Christ Together even during the weary times,

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Todd A. McGregor


Bishop Elect


Diocese of Toliara