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For immediate release
10 January 2005

Hong Kong (OP) - Now that the devastation from the incredible earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in Asia has become more transparent, the OMHKSEA is actively pursuing ways to help even more people affected by this terrible disaster.

Immediately following the events of December 26, 2004, His Eminence Metropolitan Nikitas requested that the Office of Philanthropy set up an "Orthodox Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund". At the time of the fund's creation, there were no casualties and only minor damage to report. Since then, the OMHKSEA has learned that one of its Jakarta faithful lost her entire family in the earthquake. In fact, her family's entire village was lost. In addition to this tragic human loss, thousands of dollars of structural damage has been done to various churches and schools in the Medan area as a result of the earthquake.

Dozens of organizations and individuals have responded to the OMHKSEA's call for help by donating tens of thousands of dollars to help the hundreds of thousands of victims in this vast region. As a result of such overwhelming generosity, the OMHKSEA has donated thousands of dollars to Orthodox response teams in North Sumatra, Indonesia and southern India.

In addition, Archimandrite Konstantinos Tsilis spent a week in Thailand, helping victims of the tsunami from the island of Phuket. Father Tsilis helped Orthodox faithful, some of whom were flown to Bangkok with nothing but the clothes they wore, with financial and spiritual needs. Many had lost loved ones in the massive waves that struck the once tranquil beach resort.

The OMHKSEA is striving to do even more. OP Director Christopher Ebe will meet with a Europe-based International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) representative and Indonesian Orthodox clergy in North Sumatra this week to identify gaps in the current relief efforts and find ways to forge partnerships with existing efforts. The small team will then travel to the hardest hit Indonesian province of Aceh, where nearly 100,000 people have perished, to meet with humanitarian agency representatives and survey the damage. Following the 'needs and assessment' trip, the team will work to attract funding to support the front line relief effort in Indonesia.

The earthquake that caused all of the havoc, which was centered off the western coast of North Sumatra, was the most powerful earthquake in the world in the last 40 years, registering 8.9 on the Richter scale. Massive tsunamis, or tidal waves, ravaged across the Andaman Sea, the Bay of Bengal, and greater Indian Ocean, causing death and destruction in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and as far west as Somalia. Over a third of the victims found so far have been children, as they stood the least chance of surviving in rushing water.

To make a donation to the OMHKSEA relief fund, please make out a check to: "Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia" and send it to our main office (address in header above). On the memo line of the check or elsewhere, please mention "Earthquake and Tsunami Fund" so that your contribution can be allocated appropriately. All contributions will be receipted by the OMHKSEA. Alternative methods of donating exist and you are urged to contact the OMHKSEA for details.

The OP currently coordinates projects and partnerships in India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand. For more information on this relief effort or our other project sites in the region, please contact OP headquarters via phone at + 852 2573 8328 or email at


For media inquiries, please contact OP Director Christopher Ebe via phone at +852 2573 8328 or email at