Milan (AsiaNews) The fundraiser organised by the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) raised 1,653,000 euros for tsunami victims in south-east Asia713,000 raised directly by PIME and 970,000 collected by Tg4, the newscast programme of the Rete 4 TV network and given to Pimedit Onlus for social projects on the Andaman Islands.
"We thank the many people who so generously helped us, "said Fr Davide Sciocco, director of Milan's PIME missionary centre.
"Some new projects have recently been proposed to us," said Father Sciocco "and we are counting on everyone's support since we cannot forget what happened only because TV cameras are focusing their attention elsewhere in the world".
All funds were allocated by April 12 with an additional 261,500 euros still needed to complete existing projects.
Initially, immediate relief in India, Thailand and Myanmar was PIME's main goal. It was followed by purchasing fishing boats and equipment in Tamil Nadu (India), providing help to schools and hostels on the Andaman Islands as well as assistance to students and schools run by Stigmatine Fathers and psychological counselling to survivors in Thailand. It also included help in rebuilding churches and chapels destroyed by the tsunami in different countries.
An evening event to thank those who supported the initiative and describe the projects has been scheduled for 9 pm, June 7, at the PIME Centre in Milan.
Fr Piero Gheddo, a missionary and a journalist who visited the affected areas in India, Father Sciocco and some volunteers sent by PIME to the tsunami-hit areas will speak.