Boxing Day tsunami
To enable collective response t the natural disaster of Boxing Day 2004
by Gordon Lamont
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To enable a collective response to the natural disaster of Boxing Day 2004
Preparation and materials
- As with all rapid response assemblies this will need careful moderation and adaptation to suit the children and staff in each case, particularly where there is bad news or uncertainty about the fate of members of the school or wider community.
- If someone known to the school has died in the tragedy, please see our assembly A death associated with the school community.
- Please note that the situation is changing all the time so please update the assembly as required.
- For older children we have an assembly which asks questions about suffering and how a loving God can allow such tragedies. (See also Tragic News )
- Introduce the topic and cover the basic facts. At the time of writing these include:
A large tsunami (big wave) caused by an earthquake has lead to devastation and loss of life in many countries.
This was caused by the rock plates, on which countries and continents stand, moving together. In this case the Eurasian and Australian plates caused the biggest Earthquake for forty years.
The countries hit are: Tanzania, Seychelles, Maldives, Kenya, Somalia, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
It is feared that more than 150,000 people may have died because of the tsunami.
Many more people have been injured and thousands are homeless and without basic sanitation and running water.
A huge international relief effort is underway with countries and individuals sending millions of pounds.
The response from the British public was particularly quick and generous.
(Source BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/world/2004/asia_quake_disaster/default.stm)
- Point out that many British people take holidays in areas affected by the tsunami and so, as well as being concerned for the people who live there, many people know someone who was caught up in the tragedy.
- Whenever terrible things like this happen, and this is one of the worst natural disasters ever known, we feel a mixture of things: horror for what has happened, sympathy (or empathy - fellow feeling) for the victims, perhaps anger that God allowed it to happen, helplessness in the face of such devastation, maybe we also feel fear for anyone we know who might be affected.
- Some old words from the Bible, from Psalm 9 remind us that people have always felt like this at times of tragedy, so we are not alone in feeling this way:
I am worn out, O Lord: have pity on me!
Give me strength: I am completely exhausted and my whole being is deeply troubled.
- These tragedies help us to realise that we are all one people. All over the world, people of different races and with different religions all react in the same way; they want to help and this has been shown in the fantastic response to appeals for money to help the victims.
- Have a time of silence, perhaps using the following words as prompts:
We think of those who have died and those who have lost loved ones (pause)
We think of those clinging to life or coming to terms with injury (pause)
We think of those struggling to begin to rebuild their lives (pause)
We think of all the victims of the Boxing Day tsunami (pause)
We think of people all over the world, thinking and feeling as one (pause)
We think of the generosity shown by so many people in so many countries (pause)
We think of what we could do to help (pause)
Time for reflection
Dear God we pray for all victims of the Boxing Day tsunami.
We give thanks for the generosity of people all over the world.
Please help us never to forget that we are one people, sharing one planet.