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One year after the tsunami

ELCA partners see results and much work ahead

Joseph Chu points to a blurry photo of a solemn-faced boy in Sothikuppam, India. Traveling with an ELCA delegation, Chu took the photo nearly a year after a December 2004 tsunami and earthquake killed more than 230,000 people across South Asia and East Africa. “Rangat’s brother was killed by the tsunami,” he says. “After much counseling, he’s talking again.”

The United Evangelical Lutheran Church in India trained 1,000 community leaders to recognize such signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, shepherd adults back to their livelihoods and help children feel safe. Much of the children’s counseling occurs during play, songs, dance or drawing time. For the adults it’s a communal process of sitting with a community leader to share their trauma.

More than $11 million in gifts from ELCA congregations, members and others funds this and other recovery work. Chu, program director for Asia Pacific with ELCA Global Mission, says the gifts will be spread over five years toward long-term rebuilding and disaster-preparedness.


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May issue

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