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Thanks a million for your prayers

Thanks a million for your prayers – 14 Oct 2013

The worst of cyclone Phailin is over, and whilst very low casualties have been reported, a trail of destruction to infrastructure, properties, and agriculture has been left behind. The cyclone has been ‘very severe’, severely impacting lives, properties and infrastructure but not a‘Super Cyclone’ as predicted by many. Even secular NGOs think that “It’s nothing short of a miracle that so many lives were spared. We were expecting the worst, but it just shows that all the time and investment put into preparing for such disasters by the authorities, civil society organisations and communities has paid off,” said Save the Children’s Devendra Tak.

Management of cyclone Phailin was a success due to excellent planning done by the state, central government, three defence wings and more importantly excellent coordination between them. According to Chief Minister of Odisha Mr. Naveen Patnaik the experience and learning from 1999 super cyclone helped in saving lives.

This is in contrast to the flooding in Uttarakhand where the government was caught unaware and over 5000 people lost their lives. It underlines that preparedness by the government, communities and aid organisations, while building resilience saves lives.

14,515 villages have been affected. Some affected areas are still inaccessible and the government has prioritised and rightly so to repair roads, telecommunication and power which will enable access the affected area and assess the extent of destruction the Phailin cyclone has caused.

Prayer alert: Cyclone expected in India

Prayer alert: Cyclone expected in India – 11 Oct 2013

Cyclone Phailin is expected to hit India tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 12 Oct) causing large-scale destruction. Odisha state, formerly known as Orissa, and the eastern coastal regions are particularly vulnerable. The country is currently is approaching its harvest season and the government has advised people in these areas to harvest as much as they can within the next 24-hours. The government has also called for evacuations and has put cyclone shelters in place.

India was hit by super cyclone Odisha in 1999 which left 10,000 people dead. Since then Tearfund partners have prioritised preparing people for disasters, including evacuation points on higher ground, access to food and safe water, and ensuring people look out for vulnerable groups such as the elderly and disabled.

Great losses are expected and the cyclone poses a large threat to livelihoods, with a significant economic impact.

Please join us in prayer:

  • Pray that the wind speeds decrease and that the storm will be weaker than expected.
  • Pray that the storm doesn’t move further east where it could do more damage.
  • Pray that the work of Tearfund partners to prepare people for disasters has great impact.
  • Pray that the local church in the region will be able to help communities to deal with the impact.
The Choice - pull Sina back from the brink

The Choice - pull Sina back from the brink – 12 Sep 2013

Sina* is 28 years old. She has three children: Yuth (aged ten), Bunton (aged eight) and Den (aged five and a half months). Sina is married to Bora, who is also 28. Sina is a warm, strong, dignified woman. She has a beautiful smile, but a lot to worry about. She’s open about her hopes and fears, and strong in spirit – she holds on to the hope that things can somehow be better for her children.
‘Sometimes I find it hard to sleep, because I have a lot on my mind. And sometimes I wake early in the morning with worry.’ (Sina)
Sina’s father died when she was a teenager, and she is now close to her mother Sokly and sister Sokha. Her mother doesn’t live very close by, but comes to stay with the family sometimes. Sina’s sister and her family live two doors down from Sina, and both sisters face very similar struggles.

Sina lives in a tiny one-roomed shack. The walls are made of dried palm leaves, and some sides are open, with just fabric hanging from the tin roof. The whole family sleeps on one raised wooden platform, and at one side of the shack is a fire for cooking. There is no electricity, running water or toilet – Sina and her neighbours go to the toilet in the field at the back of the house.

Sina’s small home was built by her and her husband with their bare hands, using scrap and second-hand materials. The family can’t afford a proper house or their own land, so the shack is built on government-owned land. This means Sina’s family could be moved on any day, and would have to start again.

Sina’s family is among the poorest in her village Tonle Batie. In Cambodia, the government gives ‘poor cards’ (officially called equity cards) to those least well-off – Sina has a ‘poor card number one’, which means she is among the very poorest (the cards are graded one to three, one being allocated to those in most need).

Rice is a staple food in Tonle Batie. Rice with vegetables is a popular meal for families like Sina’s, fish when they have it. Other meals eaten by the family include vegetable broth, fish broth, rice soup and dried fish – when they have those things to cook. Meat is extremely rare for families like Sina’s. ‘It’s very hard when we struggle to have enough food. I pity my children.’ (Sina)


Currently, Sina’s husband Bora is working as a security guard, and the family rely completely on his small income. Bora and Sina are both poorly educated and unskilled, so those few jobs available to them are extremely limited, insecure and poorly paid. Despite this, Sina is immensely grateful that her husband is in work. She is also grateful that, at the time of writing, her husband’s work is close to Tonle Batie village.

For many families like this, things get harder and more hopeless, and children are pulled out of school in order to save on school fees and so that the children can contribute to the family income. This limits the future prospects of the children, meaning generation after generation is stuck in extreme poverty.

Sina is desperate to break this cycle and give her sons a better life. She feels she could do this, if she could fulfil her dreams of growing vegetables and keeping animals – the first steps towards a better future.

This would provide the family with more food, as well as the option to sell vegetables and animals at market to make more income. Eventually, Sina would love to have her own piece of land and live there with her family in a house that is more secure and fit for purpose. Then she and her husband could work the land and make a sustainable income – he would not need to go away for work, and she could contribute while still being there to care for the children.

When she talks about these things, she gets tearful – the prospect is so lovely to her, and seems so far from reach.

She feels she currently lacks the power, skills and resources to fulfil these ambitions – and has no option to lead her family out of poverty. ‘I hope the future is better than the here and now, where we have nothing. Right now, because we have no money, it’s hard to dream dreams about the future.’ (Sina)

Sina is not forgotten. The local church is helping villagers like Sina beat poverty. They’re pulling them back from the brink and helping them build a future that’s safe and secure.

But people like Sina need your support.

Around the world, churches are reaching out to whole communities, right to the edges. Can you help them stretch further?

Please download this ‘Sina giving flyer’ and make a regular gift to Tearfund and make life secure for many more like Sina. Today, tomorrow and beyond.

A regular gift of €7 a month for one year could give 12 people like Sina the chance to learn skills such as breeding chickens to sell for extra income.

You can also donate here.

For more resources (including prayer ideas and kids activities) on our project in Cambodia visit our Resources page.

Syria needs your prayer and support

Syria needs your prayer and support – 11 Sep 2013

Many have left everything behind and have no income, no healthcare and no certainty over what lies ahead. You can give to our Syria crisis appeal by donating to our Disaster & Emergancy Fund

Tearfund’s partners are providing food, help with shelter and hygiene goods. Eventually, we hope to help refugees return to their homes.

Please join us to pray for peace in Syria. You can also download our Prayer for Syria.

Book your tickets now for September 28th - Belfast Community Gospel Concert in Derry

Book your tickets now for September 28th - Belfast Community Gospel Concert in Derry – 9 Sep 2013

Watch the video to find out more.

All money collected from the tickets will go towards supporting Tearfund projects.

Saturday, 28 September 2013 from 19:30 to 22:30
Lisneal College, Derry, Northern Ireland

Book your tickets (€14 and €12 concession) through the office directly: 01 878 3200

Spread the word and we hope to see you there. It’s gonna be a great night so don’t miss out!

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India flood survivors tell of hardships

India flood survivors tell of hardships – 13 Aug 2013

Monsoon rains in June caused extensive flooding in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, leaving 500 people dead and 5,000 others missing.

Two Tearfund partners, the Emmanuel Hospital Association and Eficor, responded by organising distributions of food, hygiene items, cooking utensils, blankets and tents to the badly affected districts of Tehri, Rudraprayag and Chamoli.

Among those helped was 70-year-old Mrs Chhotidevi, a widow without family, who lives on a pension equivalent to just €6 a month.

The flooding disrupted pension payments and left her unable to buy food: ‘I used to beg and people were giving me left over food,’ Mrs Chhotidevi recalls.

‘But Eficor gave me good quality food. I will not forget Eficor, may the Lord bless Eficor.’


An indication of the devastating power of the floods is provided by 40-year-old Anil Bhatt, a father-of-two and businessman from Vijaynagar village who owned six shops.

He said, ‘Water from the river Mandankini came in with huge force and took away my house, shops, and even my land. Within a few hours I was left with the clothes on my body and nothing else.

‘The relief kit is comprehensive and very useful. I thank your organisation for this timely help.’

Lalsingh Pawar, 60, lost two grown up sons who were swept away in the torrents of flood waters.

With so many families losing loved ones to the floods, partner teams are also offering counselling to the bereaved.

Mr Pawar said his family were going through very testing times, but after Eficor counselling visits they were now able to start thinking about moving forward in life.

If you would like to contribute to the relief work and protection for vulnerable families in the aftermath of the flooding you can purchase a disaster survival kit.

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