LCMS World Relief funds homes for tsunami survivors

By Kim Krull

Tsunami survivors participated in a “handing over” ceremony in Aceh, Indonesia, officially marking their ownership of 90 new homes built with funds provided by LCMS World Relief/Human Care.

The families expressed gratitudetsunami keys for the new cinderblock/brick/plaster houses that allowed them to leave temporary shelters that have been operating since the Dec. 26, 2004, disaster.  

“Thanks to these new homes, we do not have to live in the camps anymore, and we no longer have to live in the wind and rain,” said one new homeowner, identified as Mr. Tamrin.  “Our children are not crying or shivering anymore in the rain.  Now we have homes again.  Thank you.”

Seventy-two of the families moved into their new homes before the April 2 ceremony.  An additional 18 homes will be completed in a few months as part of a cooperative project that also includes LCMS World Mission and Habitat for Humanity Indonesia.  LCMS World Relief/Human Care provided the project’s $100,000 funding. 

More than two years after the tsunami, some 72,000 families still live in shelters or with relatives, according to Darin Storkson, LCMS World Relief/Human Care’s regional director in Asia.

The pace of rebuilding is slow, Storkson explained, because the huge need for housing far exceeds the country’s normal annual homebuilding capacity.tsunami certificate  Supplies are scarce.  Another challenge is that the tsunami destroyed government offices and records, making land ownership difficult to determine.  

Along with their homes, many families at the “handing over” ceremony also lost loved ones and their livelihoods in the tsunami.  Their new houses have allowed some to open small businesses.  One family started a coffee production business.  Another started a midwife’s clinic in their new home.

LCMS World Relief/Human Care also is preparing to launch a large “livelihoods” project for tsunami survivors in two impoverished neighborhoods of Banda Aceh, two communities that have received no such assistance from other relief organizations.  The project is in conjunction with the Protestant Christian Batak Church (HKBP), an Indonesian church body with Lutheran affiliations.

“Training and micro-loans to start enterprises will be provided to these communities in an effort to help them recover the ability to provide for themselves,” said Storkson, who is based in Jakarta.  The project is expected to start this spring, with $450,000 in funds from LCMS World Relief/Human Care, the Synod’s mercy arm.

Since the 2004 tragedy that left nearly 230,000 people dead or missing, LCMS World Relief/Human Care has helped expand an orphanage in Sri Lanka, rebuilt fishing boats in Thailand, and funded education-related projects in Indonesia, among other efforts.  Many tsunami-related projects are in partnership with LCMS World Mission and Lutheran Hour Ministries.

Gifts to support the livelihoods project or similar projects that assist tsunami survivors may be sent to LCMS World Relief/Human Care, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-9810.  For credit card gifts, call (888) 930-4438.  Please indicate “Indonesia Livelihoods Project.”

To learn more about LCMS World Relief/Human Care, visit http://worldrelief.lcms.org, or call (800) 248-1930, Ext. 1380.

Posted April 30, 2007

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