Student Death Spurs ARM to Promote
dventist Risk Management (ARM), the church’s risk management service, has shifted into high gear with a school safety message using its recently produced DVD called Turnstiles.
“We plan to distribute Turnstiles to every Adventist school principal in North America, as well as every school in Australia and New Zealand,” says Arthur F. Blinci, a vice president of ARM. “And I’m going to challenge them to commit 90 minutes to safety education by showing the DVD to their school boards and staff, and discussing the issue. Ninety minutes could make all the difference in raising the level of safety awareness in our schools.”
|Josué Andres Rosado [Courtesy of Rosado family]
The recommitment to school safety was prompted by former Hawaiian Mission Academy principal Josué Rosado, whose 18-year old son, Josué Andres Rosado, died in a tragic accident at Pacific Union College in May 1992. Josué was wet from swimming in the college pool when he attempted to pass through a metal turnstile and was electrocuted. According to the presiding coroner, an electrical wire used to lock the turnstile had come loose and was touching a chain-link fence connected to it, sending electrical currents through both the fence and the turnstile. Josué was pronounced dead an hour later at a local hospital.
Ten years later, Josué’s father presented the keynote address for an ARM conference in Miami, Florida, impelling the 250 attendees to do more to help make Adventist schools safer.
“Rosado’s message was so powerfully received at the meeting that we decided to capture it for a broader audience,” explains Blinci.
“The biggest thing that concerned my wife and me over the years is that this kind of tragedy doesn’t get duplicated,” Rosado told the Adventist Review. “We’ve got to protect the home front—our homes, schools, churches, and families. So often we seem to think that the church doesn’t need to have as much supervision for its activities and events, and that’s where some of these tragic things can happen.”
Liability insurance premium incentives for conferences whose schools complete the Turnstiles loss prevention awareness program have been approved for 2007. ARM plans to mail the DVD to schools by the end of this year.
Pacific Press Touches the Lives of People in Peru
Pacific Press®Publishing Association (PPPA) in Nampa, Idaho, sent a team of 14 people to Iquitos, Peru, for two weeks in July to help volunteers from the People of Peru Project renovate a piece of property for use as a child crisis center.
|“LET’S LEARN ABOUT JESUS”: Mission team members from Pacific Press hold a Vacation Bible School in Iquitos, Peru. [Courtesy of PPPA]
The Child Crisis Center property was purchased by PPPAin January of this year and donated to the People of Peru Project—a not-for-profit ministry run by Adventist Paul Opp. PPPAraised the funds to purchase and renovate the property through a golf tournament in May that generated almost $17,000. The funds were also used to purchase literature to distribute to residents in Peru, as well as to help fund other needed renovation projects in Iquitos. Charles Bobst, vice president of production at PPPA,was coordinator of the project.
The Peru mission trip team members, comprising PPPAemployees and local church members, each raised money for their own travel expenses. In addition, the press donated $500 toward the expenses of each employee who went on the trip.
While in Peru, team members assisted with various renovation projects, helped medical teams, fed street children, distributed clothing, handed out hygiene kits, and conducted health surveys. Some team members were also involved in nightly evangelistic meetings and a Vacation Bible School for children.
“There is such a need there. They have so little,” says Rhonda Weygandt, Nampa church member and an employee of PPPA. “It was amazing to see how God used us to accomplish His work.”
Horrific Flood Devastation in
Surat, India Nearly Destroys Campus
BY M.S. JEREMIAH and GORDON CHRISTO, president and CEO of Medical Education Trust Association, and Communication director of the Southern Asia Division, respectively
Recent heavy monsoon rains that killed almost 350 people and left some 4 million homeless in five western and southern India states, also caused death and destruction at Adventist institutions in the region. Seven intensive-care patients at the Adventist hospital in Surat, India, died and the facility suffered extensive damage as a result of a flood that hit the city unexpectedly on August 7.
|CLEANING UP: Residents of Surat prepare to begin the cleanup after the floodwaters receded. [Courtesy of Southern Asia Division]
The torrential monsoon rains that bore down on western India in the state of Maharashtra flooded the Ukai Dam in the neighboring state of Gujarat. In order to save the dam, authorities decided to release unprecedented amounts of water into the Tapi River at 1:30 in the morning, August 8. Millions of people who would be affected lay asleep and unsuspecting. The water rushed down into the coastal city of Surat. Normally, the water would have drained into the Arabian Sea, but a tide held the water in the city, flooding it up to 20 feet for four days.
“Many people in the city many lost their lives,” said D. Ronald Watts, president of the Southern Asia Division, “and we express our heavy anguish over the loss of life in this tragedy.”
Medical Education Trust Association, Surat, of Seventh-day Adventists (METAS), with a college, a hospital, and a secondary school, lies a few hundred feet from the river. Rumors of the release of dam water had circulated, but residents did not expect the amount of water would be so great and the consequences so serious. Most went to bed feeling unperturbed.
The METAS campus wall masked the first signs of danger by holding back the initial onslaught. But as the weight of the water built up, the wall gave way in two places and the flood deluged the campus with water that was immediately knee deep, and rising fast. Hospital staff rushed to rescue some equipment, but it soon became obvious they had to flee to save their own lives.
Dr. M. S. Jeremiah, president and CEO of METAS, rushed around the campus—first to check on those living in basement apartments, then to those on ground level. Occupants hurried to higher floors. Dr Jeremiah himself was eventually stranded at the staff quarters. Little did people realize that where they rushed to would be their “homes” for the next five days. Most had no time to save anything but themselves.
Electric power shut down, and in the eerie darkness, sounds of bump-bump and bang were muffled by the water. Drowned animals floated onto the campus—cows, buffalo, goats, sheep, and dogs. Later, the bodies of two babies were also found. “Somewhere,” Dr. Jeremiah mused, “is an empty cradle and an empty set of a mother’s arms.”
The water roused the Israel family. Within no time it was chest deep, and they could not open the front door. When they opened the back door, debris falling in prevented them from exiting. The front door was held shut by the floodwaters. Eventually, the pressure of water from outside broke down the door and released the family from what they believed was going to be their watery tomb.
Paulraj Peter lost all his musical instruments, except the accordion he took with him. He also lost all his doctoral research materials. His wife, a music teacher, lost her piano to the flood. Pramtesh Parmar, a vice president of METAS, like many others who lived on the ground floor, lost everything. The flood claimed the life of his wife’s 85-year-old father, who was a patient at the hospital.
|TRYING TO HELP: Some people ventured out, looking for food and drinkable water. [Courtesy of Southern Asia Division]
Marooned in the staff quarters, the college faculty could see the flood cover the hoops and nets of the basketball court. They watched chairs, desks, and blackboards float out of the secondary school building nearby to unknown destinations. In the college building, computers, printers, and servers were destroyed. Archived and financial records were all washed away. Student transcripts, grade sheets, and permanent records were reduced to a soggy mass. The heavy photocopier somehow sailed out of the building.
The water destroyed not only valuable furniture, appliances, vehicles, and musical instruments but also items of irreplaceable value—photographs of deceased loved ones, letters, passports, official documents, awards and certificates, electronic records, music, and more. All 28 families on the campus suffered some loss. Several lost everything except the clothes on their back. Those who had to flee their homes could not even bathe for more than a week because of a lack of clean water and clothes to change into.
Families shared food, and older boys ferried food and water to the 300 hostel (dormitory) residents on campus. They also transported the younger students to safer buildings. Able-bodied men ventured out to fetch drinking water. Some had to resort to drinking the water around them, straining it several times and then boiling it (on liquified petroleum gas stoves). Even so, food and water ran out by the third day.
The Southern Asia Division officers arranged for relief food to be sent by boat, but government workers didn’t allow supplies to be targeted to specific families. They insisted that those who needed it most should receive it. Next, the division authorized the Maninagar Adventist school—a school with 7,000 students and located in the same state—to arrange for a helicopter to drop food and water on the campus. But by then the water level had gone down to the point where trucks and trains could move into the city. Relief supplies finally reached the school. The Adventist school in Vyara, a boarding institution located 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) away and run by METAS, brought cooked meals to the campus—to the delight of the campus residents.
A great deal of valuable hospital equipment was destroyed in the flood, including a color Doppler, an X-ray machine, six ECG machines, five ventilators, and seven operating tables, as well as furniture, telecommunication systems, computer systems, a large pharmacy of medicines, and much more. The value totals more than US$770,000.
The greatest losses to the college were furniture, equipment, and structural damage, with the secondary school suffering similar losses. Faculty and staff have also experienced great loss of personal belongings. Total campus losses are estimated at US$1.3 million.
Unfortunately, the troubles didn’t end with the receding of the flood. Muck and sewage a foot deep covered the campus, inside and outside of the buildings. The remaining furniture needs serious repair and reconstruction. Health epidemics in the region set in, including cholera, typhoid, and pneumonia. Students left for home in droves.
Initially, the hospital shut down, but later reopened at the insistence of civic authorities. All nurses and student nurses were summoned, and the hospital opened its doors to those who needed help and attention. The college and school will also reopen soon, but much remains to be restored.