Swiss members respond

GENEVA, Switzerland — The disastrous effects of the Dec. 26 tsunami in southeastern Asia have been felt by thousands in Europe, including Switzerland where more than a thousand Swiss residents were counted among the dead.

Ashok De Silva of the Geneva Switzerland Stake grew up in the now devastated coastal region of Sri Lanka. He learned after the disaster that several members of his family were killed or missing.

His suffering, coupled with the compassion of stake members, spurred a stakewide effort to aid survivors.

Various stake groups, including institute students, made hygiene kits and collected clothing and bedding. President Eric Perrier of the Geneva stake offered almost two tons of bedding, towels and hospital clothing from his commercial laundry facility. Members transported the goods in donated vans to the Sri Lankan Embassy warehouse where it was given priority air shipment to hospitals in that country.

The Geneva Ward Relief Society organized a clothing drive and hosted a special evening during which members with relatives in the tsunami-affected areas shared their thoughts about their tragedies.

Following a computer presentation on the Church's involvement with the tsunami relief effort, the sisters commenced sorting clothes, mending children's clothing for the United Nations and assembling several hundred hygiene kits.

An additional five tons of bedding and hospital clothing will be transported to the Sri Lankan warehouse when storage space is available. The Sri Lankan Embassy expressed gratitude for the Church's concern and assistance.