Friday, October 15, 2010

Flood Disaster

Special Message from Stephanie Freed, Executive Director

Hello friends—I am here in Cambodia with the Rapha House Kid’s Club Program Manager, Chris Wheeler. You will be hearing more about this prevention outreach project in the near future. In an effort to combat the selling of children into slavery, we have targeted an area of the capital city where children are highly trafficked. The slums of this district of the city are hard to describe. Thousands of people live in situations of extreme poverty and desperation. 
Yesterday morning, it began raining. This is not uncommon this time of year. It is the end of monsoon season here, and we often experience hard tropical downpours. The strange thing about this rain is that it did not stop. The storm lingered all morning, and we found it difficult to see while driving through the city on our way to the prevention project area. Before we knew it, we were driving through deep water. We noticed a current running through the water and realizing that the situation was growing dangerous, we pulled our small car off the street onto the higher ground of a gas station. Unable to sit in the car in the stifling heat, we exited to stand on the higher ground alongside hundreds of other people who were already mid calf deep in water. Just a few feet from us, down in the street, it had become a river where people were walking waist deep in water—evacuating with their belongings carried on their heads. This surreal scene escalated as we watched a baby in a large mixing bowl floating past, being navigated by his father.  his kind of flooding here in the streets of Phnom Penh has not occurred in more than ten years. 

We found ourselves trapped only for a few hours in this very unsanitary water which was a mix of rain, river and sewer, but many families in the city lost everything they owned—which was little to begin with. Many of the families we work with in our prevention project live in meager bamboo and cardboard homes which washed quickly away taking the little food that these families had. 
I know that I cannot adequately explain the desperation which many children in our area are facing right now. We are facing an emergency need for food and medicine. Please consider helping us in this real time of urgent need. Working in a grass roots effort, we will be able to get the food and medicine directly to the people who need it. 
Navigating mud and water yesterday, Chris and I walked down one alley where naked children begged us for something to eat. One mother carrying a baby approached us and, with tears in her eyes, thanked us for providing their family with some rice. Please help us be the hands and feet of Jesus to these desperate people.