Gifts to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship tsunami relief fund surpassed $890,000 in January, making it the largest response to a CBF relief effort to date.

Funds approaching $1 million will allow the CBF to move victims through emergency relief into longer term development, allowing communities and families to “return to some sense of normalcy,” Barbara Baldridge, CBF Global Missions coordinator, said in a press release.

Response to the Dec. 26 tsunami surpassed earlier major relief efforts by the CBF, which raised more than $200,000 from churches and individuals following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and $675,000 in response to the Kosovo crisis.

The Fellowship had distributed $215,168 in relief efforts as of Feb. 15. Field personnel in each affected region have drafted budgets for relief work through the end of April. More than $500,000 will be spent on water and sanitation needs, debris removal, medical needs and economic recovery, Baldridge said.

The Atlanta-based CBF isn’t alone in reporting record giving levels.

Donations to Baptist World Aid of Australia total more than $3 million. While some of the money is being used for emergency relief, most of the money will help with reconstruction efforts over the next several months and years.

The British Baptist missionary society BMS World Mission reported gifts exceeding 1 million British pounds, or about $1.9 million, just over a month after the tragedy struck.

“We continue to be astounded by people’s generosity,” said David McLellan, manager for mission partnerships. “This is the largest amount ever received by the BMS Relief Fund, and we would like to thank donors for trusting us with their gifts.”

Because of the generosity of British Baptists, BMS will continue to make grants to trusted partner organizations in affected areas.

“These partners understand what is needed, when and where,” McLellan said. “We are proud to be working with them, as we are proud to be part of the generous Christian community in this country.”

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.

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