TSUNAMI: It Was A Wall of Mud, Dirt, and Sand Burying Them Alive!
By Cyndy Nelson
Dr. Christopher Daniel of Marshalltown, Iowa sat stunned at the stories of tsunami that came through the news channels. He had no way to contact family members back in his homeland of Sri Lanka, where he has five sisters and three brothers. All but one brother lived in the outskirts of Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. One sister had flown in from her residence in London, England to be with family during the Christmas season and was caught in the world’s worst earthquake and tsunami.
A week into the disaster, Dr. Daniel heard from his relatives. All his siblings and their extended families living in the outskirts of Colombo did not experience the tsunami waves, but strong winds. His siblings said they hadn’t heard from their brother living right on the beach ten miles east of Colombo. They knew everything was demolished in their brother’s neighborhood next to the Indian Ocean, but no one knew of his welfare. Prayerfully, the whole family waited for word from their brother, as the one sister flew back to London when the airports opened.
For decades, Dr. Daniel worked with Tamil settlements in Southern India and Sri Lanka. Through his efforts and vision, these settlements have received wells, housing, schools, churches, medical clinics and orphanages. He saw the need in the Tamil people who were displaced by civil war and persecution.
David Gruraj of Mahabalipuram in Southern India was unable to contact Dr. Daniel until ten days after the tsunami due to the destruction and dealing with the loss of lives. Mahabalipuram is one village Dr. Daniel’s Calvary Evangelical Mission has helped with building homes and digging wells. Relaying horrific tales of survival and the current need of the people, David Gruraj requested funds to rebuild the homes in Mahabalipuram in Southern India.
Dr. Christopher Daniel heard of the destruction and the loss of life with a heavy heart. Many in the village were killed and many more listed as missing. As the survivors started the cleanup to remove rubble from damaged homes and fishing vessels, they found some of their missing loved ones buried in mud several feet deep. The tsunami wave was not just water, but more as a wall of mud, dirt, and sand that raised three stories high over their heads burying them alive!
This is a quote from one of the survivors. “The first waves brought fish, and the second wave brought destruction to our houses and fishing village.”
Dr. Daniel’s wife, Hepsy, has a sister whose work with orphaned children in Sri Lanka has spanned twenty-three years. The Calvary Evangelical Mission, which Dr. Daniel began as a tax-exempt, non-profit organization started building an orphanage for Sister Grace in 2004. Rooms have been built to house the orphans, but the current need for toilets, wells, and a kitchen remain. The number of orphans has drastically increased since the tsunami disaster left nearly 50,000 children in the effected region as orphans.
Dr. Daniel’s family is thankful the orphanage was already founded and far enough away from the coast to receive little damage, though continued rains and mudslides have proven to be difficult for supplies to get through. Funds are desperately needed to take care of the influx of displaced, homeless and hungry orphans, while keeping them safe from sexual predators.
Upon meditating about his responsibilities to his people, Dr. Daniel knew his work would intensify with a sense of urgency. His group would need to rebuild what they had just accomplished to construct in the recent years. February will see his group, Calvary Evangelical Mission, visiting the hardest hit areas of Sri Lanka and India for two weeks. A medical team will be accompanying Dr. Daniel to treat and monitor diseases spreading from the flood of unburied dead. The team will spend two weeks itemizing the exact needs of each village to rebuild the lives of its surviving residents with medicine, food, wells, schools, homes, and much needed counseling.
After returning to the USA in February, Dr. Daniel will seek financial aid to help in this daunting task of reconstruction. He has learned it will take approximately $1,200 to $5,000 to build one home in India, and $40,000 to complete the orphanage in Sri Lanka to accommodate the increased numbers of those orphaned from the disaster. The Calvary Evangelical Mission will revisit these areas with more teams to complete the work in July of 2005 in their “Mission of Mercy-Rebuilding Hope” tours.
On Monday, January third of this New Year, Dr. Daniel heard the familiar voice of the brother who lived right on the beach east of Colombo. He listened as his brother related their miraculous survival. The family was finishing breakfast inside their house. The changing sounds of a tranquil Indian Ocean into ear shattering roars alerted them that danger was near as the tsunami bore down with monstrous power. Without knowing exactly how, the family escaped the house as water flooded into their dwelling. When the waters receded to the ocean, the family saw their house and the houses of their neighbors flood damaged, but still standing. One by one, each neighbor appeared unharmed and unscathed. They lost much, but they were all alive.
If the tsunami disaster has touched a cord deep within you, and you wish to help in the long-term commitment of Dr. Christopher Daniel to rebuild the lives of the hardest hit areas of India and Sri Lanka, you can send all tax-exempt donations to:
India/Sri Lanka Disaster Relief Funds
Farmers Savings Bank
P. O. Box 1324
Marshalltown, IA. 50158
Corporation and business donations can be sent to the above address. As the U.S. Congress speedily passed a new law yesterday, January 6,2005. Donations made up to January 30, 2005 can be listed as deductions on the donors 2004 tax returns. Dr. Daniel’s son, Paul Daniel, is encouraging corporations and businesses to assist in the shipping costs of sending medical supplies that have been donated to Calvary Evangelical Mission.
Paul wants every donor to know that 100% of the donations are hand delivered to the hurting people of India and Sri Lanka. No administrative costs or transportation fees of team workers are taken out of donated funds. Pictures of the relief effort and the work being done will be sent to the address or email address of each donor. For more information on corporation and business donations, contact Paul Daniel at:
If you want more information on Calvary Evangelical Missions, write for a free brochure. Do you have a heart for hurting people? Do you have skills that would benefit the teams of Calvary Evangelical Mission in construction, plumbing and electrical, digging wells, medical, or counseling? Send your interest to:
Calvary Evangelical Mission
Dr. Christopher Daniel
1915 South Fifth Avenue
Marshalltown, IA. 50158
© Cyndy Nelson