Milan (AsiaNews) The Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) is organising a meeting scheduled for June 7 in Milan almost six months after the December 26 tragedy and the launching of its fund-raising campaign on behalf of tsunami victims. Its purpose is to examine how the money raised has been used so far and inform the public about it.
In many of the affected countries, reconstruction has not yet started. In Indonesia, the government is slow in releasing funds; in India, the authorities are late in assigning building lots; in Thailand, most NGOs and humanitarian agencies have left the country.
Many sources in south-east Asia tell AsiaNews that the Catholic Church is the only major player left that is providing solid support and comfort to the local populations through its numerous rescue and reconstruction projects.
The June 7 meeting will enable PIME to provide documented evidence of what missionaries, volunteers and locals have done to give hope and a future to the populations of the region.
The meeting, which is open to the public and includes taped material, will include a presentation by Fr Davide Sciocco, director of the PIME Missionary Centre, testimonials by missionaries like Fr Carlo Torriani from India, and Fr Angelo Campagnoli from Thailand, who was on the spot during the early rescue operations on Pukhet Island. Finally, Paolo Preziosa, of New Humanity-PIME, will talk about the ongoing projects.
PIME's solidarity campaign was launched via Pimedit onlus and focused initially on early relief operations in India, Thailand and Myanmar. It was followed by the purchase of fishing boats destined for Tamil Nadu (India), aid for schools and hostels on the Andaman Islands (India), and help for pupils attending schools run by Stigmatine Fathers and psychological counselling to survivors in Thailand. It also included help in rebuilding chapels and churches destroyed in the different affected countries.
The meeting will take place Tuesday, June 7, at 9 pm at the PIME Missionary Centre, Via Mosè Bianchi, 94, Milan (Italy).