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Message from Bishop Todd

Dear Friends and Family                                                                  March 7th, 2013

 

Here is the latest update on the cyclone relief.thumbnails-cyclone

Via motorbike, I visited some of the areas that were unable to be reached last week and which are still inaccessible by 4×4 truck. As I rode, I saw destruction of new areas; places hit the hardest due to the dike breaking. Destruction was overwhelming. Cement-block houses (upper level income for Toliara) were ripped apart by the flooding. Roads no longer exist and have become lakes and canals. Many people are taking advantage of the lakes/canals for washing bodies and clothing in unclean water. My heart sank because most likely there will be an outbreak of disease.

USAID and Red Cross have provided a few temporary tent shelters for the tens of thousands of displaced people in Toliara. Medical relief teams give assistance as able. On one hand it is good to know that some of the Malagasy people are taken care of and seemed to be OK, but it becomes overwhelming with the knowledge that this will continue for six months to a year as all the crops have been destroyed. When I entered the displacement camp and noticed to be Caucasian, the desolate flocked for help.

Official reports conclude 40,000 people been displaced and 26 people have died as a result of the cyclone. However, just in our church four additional deaths have occurred in one week due to the stress and trauma of the cyclone, including one infant baby.

Everyday we get more and more bleak reports of sadness and grief. For me personally, it seems overwhelming and I realize I am out of my league. This is not my specialty and I don’t know where to begin and yet at the same time, don’t know where to end. However, God gives strength when we are weak. A Cyclone Relief Committee has been formed by the Diocese and we are moving forward. Action plans are into place, a budget set, and the Malagasy team on the ground in Toliara is working hard, assisting in clean-up, reconstructing of fences, and minor repairs.

Shelter, food and clothing remain big issues right now and we have an action plan to purchase and distribute food, pots, pans, and used clothing. In all of the loss, hardship and devastation of Cyclone Haruna, we are encouraged by emails from international and local partners who join with us as People Reaching People, assisting in aide, prayers and financial support. “By this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts. 20:14.

Thank you for your solidarity during this time of crisis. Truly, we are People Reaching People, serving Him Together. I have thanksgiving to God for each one of you.

                                                            Bishop Todd