Friday, April 01, 2005

Tsunami Relief-A message from Dr John Lee

Dear Friends of AFCMA,
I wish all of you and your loved ones the peace and joy of the Risen Lord. It seems rather a coincidence that on the day following the two most important celebrations in the Christian calender, the celebrations are cut short by disaster affecting our brothers and sisters in a few countries in Asia in particular Indonesia.
In the wake of the Tsunami disaster, I was overwhelmed by the Christian generosity from people all over the world who responded in whatever way they can to help the victims of the disaster. There are too many examples of heroic sacrifice to mention. However the Malaysians who reached out to help victims in other countries despite the fact that they were also affected is particularly inspiring. The Missions Committee of AFCMA led by myself and co-chaired by Freddie Loh together with Gian Luigi were busy responding to the disaster in many ways. We were in constant contact with our brethen in the affected countries to see how we can help in terms of medical relief and logistics.
For many reasons it would be impossible for foreign aid agencies and NGOs to be involved in sustainable long term reconstruction projects without the involvement of the locals. I am pleased to announced that we have finalised a project together with PERDHAKI (a Catholic healthcare association in Indonesia) to bring primary healthcare to communities in Aceh along the coastal regions many of which have not received any aid. To date we have secured commitment for approximately US$127,000 to fund the project. There might be need of help from all of you in the future for specific projects in Aceh.
I was shocked last night to learn of the devastation caused by a new earthquake especially to the island of Nias (a predominantly Christian community off the west coast of Aceh). However I am impressed at the speed at which PERDHAKI has responded to the situation. Today they have sent a medical team to Nias by helicopter and plan to send another team from Jakarta soon. We will continue to keep in touch with PERDHAKI and our friends in the Indonesian Catholic Doctors community to see how we can assist them.
In the meantime I urge those countries who have yet to respond to our invitation to nominate a member to sit on the mission committee to help us coordinate our relief efforts.
In His Service,
John Lee