Disaster Relief Stories
Dominica: Hurricane 1979
Hurricane David, one of the deadliest of the latter half of the 20th century, hit the island of Dominica in 1979. Almost three quarters of the population were left homeless. Pat Martin wrote about this event some weeks later:
“I was in the store at the time of the hurricane and my wife Cornie was at home — you can imagine our joy when we were reunited. We spent the night with many others in a neighbour’s basement. As I write this, Cornie and Meredith Nelson are busy cutting up cheese for distribution. The cheese is part of a consignment of groceries sent by the evangelical churches in Martinique. Tomorrow we hope to get some supplies from CLC Barbados. All that we receive is a real help, and we try to get it distributed as quickly as possible.”
Thailand: Floods 2011
In October, 2011, floodwaters affected large areas of Thailand. In Bangkok, the waters came very close to our building. During this time, there were very few customers and it was impossible to order stock because the publishers closed temporarily. In the week following the flooding, CLC in Chiang Mai got involved in sending food aid to the people who were suffering in Bangkok. Martin Holsinger, a volunteer with CLC at that time, wrote:
“The first time we sent aid, we hired someone to cook and pack the food. The second time we cooked the food ourselves, packed it into 2,650 foam cartons and shipped it to Bangkok. It was a lot of work, but it was a great joy to be of service. The food was purchased by donated funds, and we are very grateful to all those who felt led to give for this relief effort.”
Indonesia: Tsunami 2004
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake on 26 December triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing 230,000 people in 14 countries and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 metres high. Indonesia was the hardest hit country. In the months that followed, CLC Indonesia received donations for relief efforts and towards ministry for those most affected. Bibles, books and food parcels were distributed in various affected villages.
Ecuador Earthquake 2016
In April, 2016, a powerful earthquake was felt in several cities where CLC has bookshops. Although books fell from the shelves in CLC Manta, CLC as a whole was unaffected, but some cities and towns were devastated. The CLC team was able to help by using the Book Mobile van to take tents, medicines, toiletries, water and food to various affected cities and towns. They also gave away the Word of God, particularly New Testaments. Some of the work was done in collaboration with other agencies, including YWAM, official rescue workers and paramedics. Donations from a number of publishing houses made this relief effort possible.
Colombia: Floods 2010
At the end of 2010, Colombia suffered devastating floods. Elsa Maria Noy de Sanchez wrote at the time: “There are currently more than two million people who have lost everything — or what little they had. Most of these people have nowhere to sleep, no food, no clothing and no jobs. The situation is very distressing, and our hearts feel the sadness and despair — some people say they have even lost hope. These people are in real need of someone to tell them that there is still hope, and that there is a God who loves them.”
Between Christmas and New Year, staff from CLC Barranquilla made the journey to Santa Marta with over 200 bags of essential food supplies, to which Bibles were added. The food aid was given out from a local church, and surrounding villages were visited by canoe. The CLC team was thankful to God for support for this project from CLC Chile, CLC Ecuador and from Nelson publishers. In addition, Unilit Publishers offered a donation of 5,000 books.