Although tsunami recovery supplies destined for nations bordering the Indian Ocean were slowed at first by transportation bottlenecks and chaotic conditions, churchgoers were able to speed generous donations via computer to relief agencies responding to the widespread tragedy.
The death toll—heaviest in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and India—was estimated at more than 150,000 people.
Facing an overwhelming need to feed and shelter millions of survivors of the earthquake-generated waves that struck islands and shorelines on December 26, religious and secular relief organizations made it relatively easy for donors to contribute.
Within days after the tsunami, it was apparent to Kristen Sachen, head of disaster response for the United Methodist Committee on Relief, that a Web site, MethodistRelief.org, was a popular way of giving. By December 31 online donations had reached $445,000, said the United Methodist News Service.