In December 2004, when tsunamis devastated the coasts of Southeast Asia and India, the damage was cataclysmic.
Whole towns were destroyed and islands disappeared. Immediately, 600 Volunteer Ministers from 28 nations responded from as near as Australia and as far as the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, the United States and Latin America, bringing physical and spiritual aid to tsunami victims and rescue workers.
The Volunteer Ministers provided a wide range of materials and services most needed by the emergency workers and officials. Deployed to hospitals to assist overloaded medical teams, Volunteer Ministers aided over 300,000 individuals. They concurrently trained everyone possible on Volunteer Minister technology, particularly Assists, procedures to help another overcome emotional upset, stress or trauma or alleviate pain from illness or injury. Doctors, nurses, Muslim clerics and Buddhist monks were among the 50,000 who learned these procedures, and who, in turn, brought help to tens of thousands more.
The region continued to suffer the ravages of typhoons, hurricanes and cyclones, and Volunteer Ministers returned time and again to provide assistance to victims and emergency workers. In 2007, a team returned to Indonesia providing Assists and emergency aid to those in need in Jakarta and Sumatra, where flooding had left tens of thousands homeless. Additionally, they multiplied the available aid resources by giving workshops on Volunteer Minister techniques to thousands of individuals and groups.
“The Volunteer Ministers are a remarkable group of individuals whose purpose is truly to help improve conditions. Their focus is one of organisation and coordination. Their self-sufficiency and ability to direct all relief efforts is an indispensable asset to our country at this time. They work with government and community leaders, and aid in the coordination of all relief efforts. Their first concern is the effectiveness of the professionals. This is a highly qualified and dedicated team that is an immense asset to our country.” —Prime Minister’s Office, Sri Lanka, December 2004