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The tsunami disaster appeal

To respond to news of the tsunami disaster in S. E. Asia

by The Revd Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To respond to news of the tsunami disaster in S.E. Asia.

Preparation and materials

  • A globe or projected map might be used to identify the Indian Ocean. Pictures of the devastation caused by the tsunami and of the delivery of aid could be displayed. A candle might be lit at the conclusion of the assembly.
  • Note: Great sensitivity will be needed in cases where children have friends or families in the areas affected by the disaster.

Assembly

  1. In conversation with the children reflect that, following a disaster on the day after Christmas, many people have learnt the significance of a new word. Tsunamis are huge waves caused when earthquakes occur beneath the sea.

    Following a violent earthquake off the coast of Indonesia, a tsunami swept across the Indian Ocean. The power of the enormous wave devastated not only the coast of Indonesia, but also the shores of Thailand and Malaysia, and countries hundreds of miles away, including Sri Lanka, India, and Bangladesh. Islands were swamped, as were communities on the coast of East Africa, almost 3000 miles from the earthquake.
  2. Introduce the perspective that, throughout history, human communities have struggled to survive in the face of disaster and disease. Ancient stories in the Bible refer to great floods and plagues. (i.e. the stories of Noah and Moses). The tsunami is one of the most terrible of recent disasters because of its sudden and widespread impact. It is thought that over 150,000 people have died. 5 million people have had their homes destroyed.

    Modern communications mean that people across the world have been touched by what has happened. Reflect that the children will probably have been shocked and upset by some of the newspaper photographs and television coverage. If appropriate, allow some to voice their reaction. Affirm that such feelings are shared by many others, and that it can be helpful to talk about events that disturb us.
  3. Continue by inviting everyone to reflect that a great wave of destruction has been followed by what might be called a great wave of concern and compassion. People of different nationalities and faiths have been united in a global response to the disaster. Millions have donated money to help support those affected by the tsunami. Practical help is being given. Efforts are being made to provide medical care and shelter. Much needed supplies of water and food are being flown in. Across the world, concern has also been shown in the offering of prayers and in the sharing of moments of quiet remembrance.

    It was been said by one UN (United Nations) Official: 'The end of 2004 showed us the worst of nature. At the beginning of 2005 we have seen the best of humanity'.

    And one journalist has written: "‘Care more about others’ is the only new year resolution worth talking about".
  4. Conclude by assuring the children that they can play a part in helping to ease some of the suffering they have seen. Firstly, (if appropriate) by supporting fundraising for the disaster appeal, in addition to other charities normally supported by the school. (It's important that others should not be forgotten!). Secondly, they can unite their reflections and prayers to those of others across the globe.

Time for reflection

A candle might be quietly lit.

We join our thoughts and prayers
with those of other faiths and nationalities.
as we remember all whose lives
have been unexpectedly overtaken by disaster.
May those who are injured and distressed be comforted,
May those who are working to bring relief find the strength they need.
May we each care more about others, as members of one human family.

Publication date: January 2005   (Vol.7 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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