Over the last few days much of the news has been about Hurricane Matthew and the devastation it caused in Haiti, in Cuba, and along the southeastern coast of the US. We won’t even get into the political circus, or the creepy clowns that also get their fair share of media coverage.
Hundreds, perhaps even thousands dead in the wake of the storm; millions of dollars in damage to real estate and infrastructure; and comparisons and reminders of the last storm, the last earthquake. But we tend to remember those things that impact us directly, or are at least close at hand. Not once as I saw coverage of Matthew, did anyone mention Cyclone Phailin, one of the biggest ‘natural disasters’ of 2013. It impacted millions of lives as it destroyed more than 800,000 homes in the Indian states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. More than ¾ of a million homes lost.
Just a couple of weeks ago we had a tornado touch down near where I live, the first in 17 years. It wasn’t anything like tornados that impact other parts of the county on a regular basis, nowhere near as devastating as Hurricane Matthew, and certainly not as horrific as Cyclone Phailin. Unless of course, it was your house that was destroyed, your roof that was blown off, your house that was picked up and slammed down a block away. Unless of course it was you that barely escaped being crushed by a giant tree crashing through your roof, or slashed by broken glass, or pelted by flying debris. The cleanup continues, and insurance adjusters have been kept busy. It was bad, but it certainly could have been much worse.
Luckily for some of the families who lost homes to cyclone Phailin there was help available. Compassion Services teams are still at work, rebuilding homes, sharing the gospel and offering hope. It’s a long, ongoing process. As of January of last year, over 140 homes had been rebuilt by Gospel for Asia teams. They provided food and comfort. But there are still people whose homes haven’t been rebuilt. Help during and after natural disasters is one of the things that is available thanks to contributions from generous GFA supporters.
What would you do? Where would you turn if disaster struck and everything you had and depended on was suddenly gone? Food for thought!