World Vision launches response to Tsunami devastation

World Vision relief teams in Asia are dispatching emergency supplies -- blankets, water, medicines and tents -- to thousands of people left homeless by Sunday's tsunamis devastating coastlines for between Indonesia and East Africa.

"People who lived in shanties just 24 hours ago are now combing the beaches, trying to pick up some little piece of their lives," says Jayanth Vincent, a World Vision staff member in Chennai (formerly Madras), along the coast of India. "Adults and children playing along the marina were taken aback and started running at the sight of a wall of water. The surge was so strong that parked cars were thrown around like toys."

Along India's southern coast, bodies litter the shore, threatening diseases if not removed soon. Survivors need food, water, shelter, blankets and mosquito nets.

In Sri Lanka, there is an unconfirmed report that as many as 100 children sponsored through World Vision have been killed.

"This is a tragedy of Biblical proportions," says World Vision President Richard E. Stearns. "World Vision will be responding to the devastation for several months, if not years."

The death toll has exceeded 13,000 in the combined earthquake and tsunamis in Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh and India, among other nations. Tidal waves have been reported as far west as Somalia in East Africa.

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