YWAM Workers Helping After Indian Ocean Disaster - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/19/07-Lindale

YWAM Workers Helping After Indian Ocean Disaster

While the death toll is at 3,000 and rising in Bangladesh on the Indian Ocean, the violent storm that ravaged the nation Thursday has left an estimated million people homeless.

Weather disasters, disease, poverty, and overpopulation all are problems seen by relief workers from Youth With A Mission which has headquarters near Lindale.  

"It's one of the densest-populated countries in the world and it's not the poorest of the poor, but there's a great deal of poverty there,"says Dr. Willis Lawton, who just returned from Bangladesh last weekend.

Half the land in the country of 150 million people is 30 feet or less above sea level.  When cyclones and monsoons flood, they create immense disasters.

"We're thinking at least one million homeless -- at least 3,000 are dead -- so the need for food, shelter, water, and medical care is urgent," said Debbie Lascelles, MercyWorks Director at YWAM.

The organization has 35 people in Bangladesh now, they've had contact with them, and the crisis is deepening.

"This has just escalated their [relief] jobs," Lascelles said.

Dr. Willis Lawton, and nurse Karen Youngblood returned from the country last weekend. They had operated clinics in churches there.

"I think it's a constant battle in Bangladesh as far as growing crops, or building houses, or anytime they have a crop growing, they have another flood and it destroys that crop and they have to start over," Youngblood said.

Dr. Lawton saw in an earlier trip, desperation.

"We had riots at three different clinic sites."

With help from other countries, though, the demeanor on his latest trip had changed.

"I think the people changed somewhat.  I think the living situation changed.  There was a lot more construction going on this time," Lawton said.

Now this cyclone has changed everything.  The clinic workers had been treating diseases like tuberculosis. Of course now, the focus will shift to water-borne diseases like cholera and dysentery, which are bound to develop over the next few weeks.

Morgan Palmer, Reporting morganpalmer@kltv.com

Powered by Frankly