24 January 2018
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Tsunami in Asia - the sorrow and the compassion

Only Catholic Church left on Andaman Islands to help tsunami victims
PIME missionary slams government, international NGOs and media for lack of interest in the reconstruction of the Indian archipelago. Monsoons are coming and we need real homes, not tents, he says.

PIME's tsunami campaign raises over 1.6 million euros
Various projects still have to be completed in the affected areas. Appeals are made for the world not to forget even if TV coverage has come to an end.

Church in Andhra Pradesh leads fishermen back to the sea
The diocese of Vijayawada gets 100 boats repaired and pays school fees for tsunami-affected children.

NGO cries foul as Paris Club set to penalise tsunami-stricken countries
Paris Club's solidarity means that interest run up on delayed debt repayments by Indonesia and Sri Lanka during 2005 moratorium is to be capitalised and repaid as deferred payments.

Many flock back to God on the Andaman Islands
India decides that reconstruction is not feasible on six islands. Young and old pray together the rosary in the ripening fields, says a missionary.

Missionaries: we help tsunami victims to start life anew
P.I.M.E.'s  campaign is bringing boats, nets, material for lodgings to India, but also pots and pans and a lot of psychological and moral help for those who lost family, home and work.

Tsunami survivors sue Thai government
The first lawsuit was filed for failure to warn people of the pending disaster. If experts and authorities had issued a warning in time, many of the 287,000 dead might not have died.

In the wake of tragedy Hindus, Muslims and Christians seek healing at the Lourdes of the East
Our Lady of Velankanni was hit by the tsunami in December, but now is a place of social rebirth and inter-faith encounter.

Tamil Nadu fishermen ask state government for safe homes not far from the shore
In a letter to Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister, fishermen ask that homes not be built beyond 200 m from the sea; it would upset their lifestyle and economic future.

Sea apostolate working for tsunami-stricken fishermen, says Card Fumio Hamao
President of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People explains how Catholic organisations are dealing with the tsunami tragedy.

UN World Tourism Organisation in Phuket to discuss industry recovery

Thai Prime Minister calls on Asian leaders to cooperate to prevent other tsunamis.

Gilbert, a post-tsunami hero
A young Tamil Nadu Catholic survivor gets an entire village, his friends and clients abroad involved in reconstruction.

Caritas office in Jaffna complains that relief is being hampered by government bureaucracy
War-torn northern region has been waiting for weeks for tents and generators blocked in the south.

The Church helps people return to normal life
In southern Thailand Catholic relief centres provide medical care as well as education and leisure activities to tsunami victims.

Violence against women continues after the tsunami
Women's rights groups sound the alarm bell about the violence and rape that are taking place across the country.

New boats for fishermen who survived the tsunami

PIME priest speaks about the PIME relief campaign he is coordinating in Tamil Nadu. A month after the tragedy rebuilding has started.

Tourists wanted for tsunami-affected region
The death toll reaches more than 280,000. ASEAN tourism ministers call on the West to tone down negative travel advisories.

Church encourages tsunami-affected fishermen to go back to the sea
Bishop of Kottar visits coastal parishes by sea. The Archbishop of Pondicherry hands new boats over to fishermen so they can go back out to sea and fish.

One killed, four injured in Central Sulawesi earthquake
The death toll from the Asian tsunami rose close to 234,000

Sponsoring: help beyond emergency
One million donors give € 240 million a year to sponsor 2.5 million people in the developing world.

PIME tsunami campaign to assist Andaman Islands
Schools in Italy are paired with schools in the tsunami-affected areas.

Jakarta promises transparency in how tsunami aid is managed
Indonesia, one of the world's most corrupt countries, says that that tsunami aid money will be properly managed. Happy ending for parents who find their daughter almost a month after she was swept away.

After the tsunami children are our hope, says Andamans Bishop
World Health Organisation chooses a Catholic hospital on the Nicobar Islands as its disease surveillance centre.

Indonesian tsunami death toll to reach 150,000: official

Tsunami experts: 'Make December 26 an international day of tsunami commemoration".

Aceh Muslims against relief aid from Islamic extremists
Separatist exiles claim Indonesian government backing criminal extremists.

No aid to Burmese tsunami victims
Police pick up illegal immigrants in refugee camps to deport them. Rumours accuse them of looting damaged hotels. The government does not plan helping them.

Fishermen most affected by the tsunami
Clergyman accuses government for failing to deal with disaster and calls for greater assistance to help fishermen get back fishing.

Struggling through the emergency to get back to a normal life after the tsunami
Christians, Muslims and Hindus are working together to rebuild their lives, says Sr Benigne Menezes. Things are getting better in the state of Andhra Pradesh but it is still an emergency situation in Tamil Nadu. For many, the Nirmala Hospital is the only refuge to go to.

Threats against missioners come from Indonesia and Malaysia
Fr Bruno Rossi, whose name appeared on an al-Qaeda-linked website, said inter-religious cooperation is good.  AsiaNews sources warn against foreign fundamentalist groups operating in Thailand.

Sponsor a child, national forum at PIME headquarters in Milan
At least 70 organisations are meeting to discuss how to sponsor children, one of the better ways to help Third World children.

Tsunami aid must be quick and on target
PIME Centre director says that reconstruction must be people-oriented and long-term. Sponsoring tsunami orphans is still premature. He insists how aid money is spent must be closely scrutinised.

Situation getting worse by the day for orphans
People from hardest-hit areas in 'Black Sunday' deplore attempts to snatch children left on their own.

Foreign aid as a Trojan horse for proselytising and espionage
Government, Islamic fundamentalists and Aceh separatists are worried about the presence of foreign military and humanitarian organisations.

Tsunami toll could rise to 200,000: UN official
UN take measures in its global tsunami relief campaign to guard against improprieties.

Houses, boats, schools and scholarships for tsunami victims
The Church launches a five part plan to rebuild tsunami-stricken areas. From a tragedy comes solidarity between Christians and Muslims.

Islamic laws suspended because of Tsunami emergency
Ulemas Council agrees to mass burial and accelerated purification rites for the dead. All emergency food is declared in principle 'halal', i.e. permissible.

Tsunami dalits discriminated by government and NGO

Government and Ngo provide help only to fisherman but they stay afar from dalits, priest says. Catholic church efforts to overcome survivors "agony".

Foreign debt moratorium for tsunami-hit countries
The Paris Club will discuss Wednesday a moratorium approved by G-7 members. The step gives debtor nations one and half month breathing space. But pressure for total debt cancellation is increasing. Indonesia's debt corresponds to 80 per cent of its current GDP.

Post-tsunami support for children
Church has set up programmes geared towards children to help them cope with tsunami-related issues. A spirit of collaboration and unity after years of civil strife is starting to be felt.

Pakistani Church close to Sri Lankan victims
Funds are being raised in schools and churches. A medical team is travelling to Sri Lanka to help out.

Religious and caste discrimination in government aid distribution in Tamil Nadu
Christian leaders say the government wants all the credit for aid and rescue. Police diverts aid lorries away from Vailankanni shrine. For two days local priests asked in vain for earth-moving equipment to save trapped survivors. In the first week, the Church was on its own. Dalits are turned away from refugee camps.

Thai Catholics start reconstruction after the tsunami
Surat Thani Bishop has a plan to help the population. Men and women religious are providing help to the victims, especially the children, and aid in restarting the local economy.

After tsunami cynicism assails Christians, Muslims and Hindus
Many ask "Why God did this?" Priests and nuns work on reconstruction and body identification. Without prayers the real meaning of life is loss.

Adoption ban in Sri Lanka
A spokesman for the Prime Minister and the head of National Child Protection Authority say that abductions are rising. Pressure is mounting on Indian government to ban tsunami orphan adoptions.

Children, victims but also evangelisers, says the Pope
John Paul II remembers the "small victims of the seaquake in Asia" and the children victim of hunger and disease, war and terrorism, as well as those who disappear, abducted or exploited for vile purposes. He also offers his best wishes to the Eastern Churches.

Inter-faith prayer for tsunami victims in Phuket
Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, foreigners and Thais join together to remember the victims of the tragedy and give moral support to survivors.

UN urges donors at Jakarta conference to give US$ 1bn for tsunami emergency
Kofi Annan says we may never know how many people actually died. US disbands core group formed to tackle the crisis and yields to UN. China and Japan join hands to provide humanitarian aid.

Small signs of things getting back to normal in Banda Ache and Meulaboh
Banks and markets reopen. Separatist guerrillas shoot at survivors and soldiers in Lhoknga.

Mullaithivu, the tsunami and the civil war

Bishop of Mannar promoted an aid campaign in an area marked by civil war and prostrated by tsunami. Many hopeless tried to suicide.

Europe, 3-minute silence for dead and missing

The death toll from the tsunamis will be over 155,000. WHO estimates there are more than 500,000 people injured and in need of medical care.

Famine haunts the population of Simeuleu Island
The island lacks food, drinking water and medicines. In Banda Aceh makeshift shelters are being built out of tsunami rubble.

Pupils eager to study, relieved to find schoolmates
Phuket missioner says he has not heard of post-tsunami child trafficking but knew of families driven to sell their children by abject poverty.

Hope is found in faith in Tamil Nadu tragedy
All India Catholic Union President says sorrow has led many people to rediscover faith. Life must be rebuilt by reactivating fishing industry and tourism.

Hindu fundamentalists praise the work of Christian missionaries

In Tamil Nadu, a Catholic priest is sheltering 300 Hindu tsunami survivors in his church.

Myanmar is withholding true casualties figures, says Thai priest
A missioner in Ranong, a town on the border between Thailand and Myanmar, says locals talk about 600 victims. Burmese political dissidents say the same.

Christians and Muslims pray for tsunami victims

Manila declares January 7 a "day of national prayer and mourning".

In Jakarta, the world mobilises to prevent other tsunamis
ASEAN summit should come up with a joint system to prevent other tragedies. Meanwhile, the international community has already raised US$ 2 billion for early aid operations.

Sri Lankan Bishops urge prayers and action for survivors
Health Ministry releases data about medicines and equipment needed to face the health emergency.

At least 20 tsunami orphans victim of child trafficking
Government adopts strict rules about child foster care and adoption.

Jakarta blocks tsunami orphan adoptions
As the death toll reaches 95,000, a series of alphanumeric messages sent via mobile phones have been urging people to "adopt orphans".

Government and press against orphan trafficking
Greatest threat to recovery is international aid that does not focus on human needs, says Jesuit missioner.

Rumours about children being kidnapped to get government money
"Although I have no evidence, it is a possibility," says the Bishop of Thanjavur. UNICEF representative warns against the danger.

Apostolic Nuncio: The tsunami, survivors and children

The disaster has devastated life in the entire nation, children hit hardest.  Among Christians and Muslims, there is greater spirit of collaboration and the desire to rebuild.

Great solidarity among tsunami survivors in Karinkal, say missionary sisters
The sisters, who are part of PIME, are nursing the injured and survivors. PIME fund raising campaign is designed to help their work.

Aid should be targeted, says Bangkok Cardinal
First, long-terms storable food and cooking tools are needed; next come housing and schools. Meanwhile, missioners say that many children thought orphaned are finding their parents.

Everything has been destroyed, but I bow before God, says Andaman Bishop
Causalities on that island itself could rise to 15,000, says Bishop Dias. The Indian government report instead 712 dead and 3,700 missing.

Tsunami brings US and Indonesia closer
US marines and choppers arrive in the world's largest Muslim country with aid for tsunami survivors.

Five years and three billion dollars to rebuild tsunami-ravaged Aceh
Jakarta will host an international relief summit on January 6 to consolidate joint commitment and plan reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Promoting peace with the weapons of love, says Pope
Pope sends a special greeting to ambassadors from tsunami-stricken countries.

God's blessing on a New Year marred by tragedy, says Pope
John Paul II feels close to tsunami victims.

Bishops look at 2004
The Filipino Church looks back at the great moments of suffering that marked 2004, urging the faithful to greater compassion and empathy.

The poor's show of solidarity
Fr Sunil de Silva, secretary to the archbishop of Colombo, speaks about how Catholics and Buddhists, national political leaders and Tamil rebels, are uniting to rebuild the country. Today is a day of national mourning for the more than 25,000 people who were killed by the tsunami.

After the tsunami prayers and questions
Suffrage masses are held in all of Thailand's Catholic churches. The Pope's empathy is remembered. Card Kitbunchu urges leaders to be "wise".

As the sea returns the dead it claimed, reconstruction becomes urgent in Tamil Nadu
Father Stanley, the parish priest of Our Lady of Presentation, is in charge of relief operations in the fishing villages around Colachel, on India's southern-most tip.

International community mobilising for south and south-east Asia
"So far little aid has arrived; we need more time," says UN official.

People united by the hand of God despite the tragedy
The Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) is launching a campaign to raise money for the Nirmala Hospital in Karinkal (one of the hardest hit areas in Tamil Nadu), a health facility run by the Missionaries of the Immaculata. A nun confirms that "people feel lost and are afraid", but compassion and empathy amongst the faithful of different religions are "the starting point for rebuilding the country".

Tsunami: a disaster at the human level, but less so for the economy
Asian stock markets continue to gain, and growth rates in affected areas are not expected to drop by much.

Indonesia's airspace now open to foreign relief operations
The death toll is continuing to rise and now stands at more than 79,000 in Aceh and North Sumatra. Military and civilian planes will be allowed in without visa to facilitate relief operations in tsunami-affected areas.

Meulaboh, a ghost town
Rescue operations are still difficult and the twon of Meulaboh can only be reached by plane. Four fifths of all its buildings have been destroyed, and the authorities fear 20,000 people might have died. The death toll in Indonesia now stands at 45,000.

New Year celebrations cancelled in Jakarta
Indonesia's bishops urge fund raising for people left disabled by the tsunami.

Phuket Parish: Anger, prayers and solidarity among survivors

There is need of food, houses and work to restore the economy of the area, based on tourism. Christians are working as "translators" between foreigners and local people.

Salesians in Chennai: "People are helping, the government is slow"

Inter-religious solidarity and prayers in churches for tsunami victims.

Msgr Gomis, Archbishop of Colombo: "My journey into the tsunami inferno"

Three days of reconnaissance in the country's worst-hit areas. Catholics, Buddhists and politicians will pray together for victims, in Colombo tomorrow.

Java and Bali fear another tsunami
SMS message arrives from Meulaboth (West Sumatra) saying that only 20 per cent of the city is still "alive".

Bishop of Sri Lanka: Local Ngos better equipped to assist the survivors
In some areas international aid has not yet arrived. Peoples are sheltered in schools, churches, temples and rely on local humanitarian organizations for water, food, clothes.

Pope appeals for help in favour of Asia

Cor Unum has sent aid and is accepting donations.

Catholic Church expresses solidarity to the victims of the underwater quake

Bishops call for prayers for the victims and urge those who were themselves recent victims of typhoons and landslides to help quake survivors.

Christians and Buddhists to help tsunami victims
On January 1, a prayer meeting and a fund-raising drive will take place in the cathedral.

A battered continent: An Overview
According to the latest figures, the death toll stands at 68,000. First rescue operations reach northern Sumatra, in Indonesia where about 3,400 bodies have been found. An overview of the situation in the various affected countries follows.

As waters recede, epidemics become a risk
Cholera and typhus vaccines are to arrive in Tamil Nadu. Caritas volunteers try to bury unidentified bodies in mass graves with some dignity.

Catholic aid in Asia going to quake victims
Solidarity and help from local Churches across Asia is getting under way. For the first time, Chinese Catholics send money for help abroad.

Catholics show compassion and empathy to Muslim Acehnese victims
The death toll stands at 36,000 and keeps on rising. The Bishops' Conference of Indonesia has set up collection centres, urging Catholics to help out the people in the hardest-hit areas.

We have no idea how many people died, says Tamil Nadu priest
Diggers continue to find bodies of pilgrims killed near Marian shrine.

Indian Bishops: "The Church is at everyone's service, no matter their religion"

Indian Church first to respond to the needs of areas hit by tsunami. Statement by Msgr Percival Fernandez, president of Caritas.

Death toll in Asian disaster passes 26,000

Officials are warning the figure will rise steeply

Great show of solidarity, ships and planes bring aid

Army declares ceasefire with GAM rebels to facilitate aid and rescue operations.

Fears of disease, mass cremations of bodies in Tamils Nadu
"Pilgrims visiting the Marian shrine at Valinkani also died," says Bishop Ambrose. A man who lost his wife and two sons is still looking for the body of this three-year old daughter.

Parish priest in Phuket: "A tragedy, worst hit are the poor"

Bishop of Surat Thani says there are hundreds of bodies on the beach, some even in the trees.  Children roam the streets looking for their parents.  Food, medicine, clothes and blood needed.  The Church is working with the government on relief measures.

People united by tragedy
The National Basilica becomes a relief centre. Catholic clergy and Buddhist monks are involved in relief operations. Government sources put the death toll at over 18,000.

Parishes and convents in Tamil Nadu are sheltering homeless in the wake of Sunday's disaster

Archbishop of Pondicherry: "My diocese is devastated, but we must rebuild the mission. Food, drinking water and shelter are needed.

Grief and support not just for tourists and Phuket

Fr Piergiacomo Urbani, PIME missionary: "There are thousands of fishermen on the coast: no one is saying anything about these poor souls."  The Church launches a relief campaign for them.

Multiple earthquake, tsunami hits Southern Asia, thousands killed
The death toll is expected to grow as many more bodies are discovered.

Earthquake and tsunami kill more than 400 people in Aceh and North Sumatra
In addition to the dead in Indonesia, mostly fishermen swallowed up by the waters' fury, some 2,000 people die in Sri Lanka, 1,000 in India, 150 in Thailand, 17 in Malaysia. Initial reports are just coming in from Bangladesh and Myanmar.

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