The situation in general has not changed in the last three days. As of 3 January, the estimated death toll has reached 150,000. A great humanitarian effort is underway in all affected countries to help the surviving victims and to bury the dead. Clean drinking water remains a major issue in most countries. The severity of this disaster has prompted an unprecedented world-wide charitable relief effort.
The Emergency Corps of the Order of Malta (ECOM) is currently focusing its emergency relief operations on India and Thailand; an assessment team will be sent to Sri Lanka within the next two days.
We renew our appeal for donations to help the stricken. To contribute to the Order of Malta’s humanitarian intervention in Asia, please send your contributions to the Order of Malta bank account:
ECOM AISBL Bank Account
Banque Belgolaise Bank Cantersteen 1, B – 1000 Brussels
Account N° 603-1050582-19 (EUR)
IBAN: BE39 6031 0505 8219 BIC GEBABEBB Swift BLGO BE BB
Beneficiary ECOM (Emergency Corps Order of Malta)
Reference: Tsunami, Indian Ocean
In India, the Order of Malta’s relief operations began on Sunday, 26 December, in the Diocese of Marthandam, now extended to the Diocese of Trivandrum. More than 300 local helpers have been working in India within the framework of the Emergency Corps of the Order of Malta and its partners during recent days, helping a population of 40,000. The Emergency Corps of the Order of Malta is distributing food, clothing and medicine. Together with the Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI), it is providing medical aid for the victims, has established two medical base camps and is currently assessing the extension of help to the east coast of India – Pondicherry and Kollam in Kerala.
In Thailand, over 100 helpers have been supporting the Order of Malta’s ongoing relief operation, giving aid to over 15,000 people. An Order of Malta team from the refugee camps in North West Thailand arrived in the region of Phuket on 29 December. First relief operations began with the distribution of food, shelter materials, blankets, kitchen utensils and mats to the poorest victims from the totally destroyed towns of Ban Muang and Ban Nam Kem. Drugs and dressings materials have also been distributed to the Community hospital in Thai Mueng and the General Hospital in Taku Pa. All distributed relief items were purchased on the local market.
The assessment team has extended its operations in the region to the island of Koh Kwao, off the coast near Ban Nam Kem, planning to help restore the heavily damaged water distribution system on the island. Further activities in the region will be organised within the next days.
In cooperation with Caritas Internationalis and the German Technical Relief Organisation (THW), the Emergency Corps of the Order of Malta is also planning an assessment in the coastal areas in the south of Sri Lanka, to identify the areas and people with the most urgent needs. The assessment team – currently preparing to leave for the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo – will bring an Emergency Health Kit with which 10,000 people can be treated for a period of up to 3 months. The team includes water purification and relief specialists. Contact with the archbishop of Colombo has already been established, and a first instalment of US$25,000 to the Bishop’s Tidal Wave Relief Fund was made yesterday.
Together with Caritas and THW, the Emergency Corps of the Order of Malta agreed to set the main focus as the rehabilitation of water and water-related issues and general activities for a sustainable long-term rehabilitation.